CWU News

CWU Students Learn How to Teach Like a PIRATE

Some Central Washington University teacher education students now know how to “Teach Like a PIRATE.” They participated in an Internet-video session with Dave Burgess, who presents seminars, based on his New York Times Best-Selling book of the same title.

PIRATE is an acronym for passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation, and enthusiasm.

“He’s not suggesting that everyone dress up like a pirate or make kids walk the plank,” said CWU education professor Melanie Kingham, with a laugh. “His basic message is you have to go the extra mile to engage learners to build rapport with them.”        

Burgess’s book has been read by many CWU professors, along with being assigned reading in some university education classes.

“He’s been commanding a lot of attention recently so it was a big coup to get him to visit with us electronically,” added Kingham, who arranged the meeting. “Not many authors would take that time.”

During the session, Burgess reiterated many concepts and philosophies pertaining to student engagement that are already presented to CWU teacher candidates.

“If students are not interested or intrigued by what you’re teaching then they’re not going to learn optimally—if at all,” Kingham added. “We say that all the time. He has great techniques and practical strategies for doing it.”

More than 60 education students—42 in Ellensburg and 20 at the CWU University Center at Pierce College in Tacoma—were able to hear from Burgess, who was in San Diego. 

“They loved it and they’re still talking about it,” Kingham pointed out.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

February 3, 2016