Posts Tagged ‘climate for learning’
I am unabashedly proud of my pedagogical article resource file. I’ve been collecting good articles on teaching and learning since the early ’80s. I use the file almost every day, and in the process of looking for a particular article, I regularly stumble onto others whose contents I remember when I see them but have otherwise forgotten.
February 7 - Role Reversal: Learning from a Master Teacher
I had a most interesting experience last summer. I have taught college composition for many years, but I had not participated in a writing workshop as a writer for a long time. Of course, I had regularly run workshops in my classroom. But this time, I had written a short, 600-word essay, and it was workshopped (which to those of us in composition means reviewed and critiqued) by my peers as part of a larger in-service on curiosity and writing.
When the workshop was finished, I turned to a fellow English professor and said, “So that’s how it’s supposed to be done!”
There’s no discounting the importance of the first day of class. What happens that day sets the tone for the rest of the course. Outlined below are a few novel activities for using that first day of class to emphasize the importance of learning and the responsibility students share for shaping the classroom environment.
There’s no hidden agenda here: Asking the question of what makes learning difficult doesn’t imply that the objective is to make the content easy. Material can be so watered down that its basic integrity is compromised. In the same vein, there’s no justification for making material harder than it needs to be, but the right balance between difficult and easy is not the subject of this post.
There’s not much pedagogical literature on the topic of curiosity. In fact the article referenced here is the only piece I can remember seeing on the subject, which is a bit surprising because curiosity does play an important role in learning. One of the definitions offered in the article explains how the two relate. “Curiosity, a state of arousal involving exploratory behavior, leads to thinking and thinking culminates in learning.” (p. 53)
Have you ever heard of Eric Mazur? If you teach physics and are into that discipline’s pedagogical literature, in all likelihood you have. But Mazur, who teaches physics at Harvard, is someone all of us should know. The reference at the end of the post contains a succinct and compelling introduction to his work.
November 11 - Getting Students to Ask for Help
I was on the first floor of a college library, needing to get to a teaching and learning center on the fifth floor and standing in front of two elevators, but for the life of me I couldn’t find the call button. There was the large panel with the instructions not to use the elevator in case of fire and various key holes for use in emergencies, but no button. I looked elsewhere, around the edges of both doors. Still no sign of a button.
October 12 - Seven Keys to Improving Teaching and Learning
Most students hate cumulative exams, largely because of the sheer volume of course material they need to study and demonstrate proficiency in. But there’s another reason, especially in courses where there are formulas or specific tools that need to be used, and it has to do with how well they truly understand the course material.
How Do I Create a Climate for Learning in My Classroom? Program includes a CD with the video presentation, plus supplemental materials, PowerPoint slides, and complete transcript • $99 We’ve all encountered “toxic” learning environments–apathetic students, disillusioned faculty, an entire roomful of people waiting for class to just end, already. But of course, that’s far
February 9 - Defining Active Learning
There’s a definitional “looseness” about many of the terms commonly used in higher education. I know, I’ve written about this in previous blogs, but when terms are bandied about assuming everybody defines them similarly, that’s a recipe for misunderstanding. Equally important, we can be using terms without having done the intellectual homework necessary to precisely understand their referents.