The piece this week that resonated most with me was Ellen Langer’s Mindful Learning. Having been an education reporter at a daily newspaper, I am well aware of the recent arguments in favor of not teaching the “same old way” it’s always been done.
Especially with the advent of No Child Left Behind, grade and high school teachers are trying to find new ways of teaching that still make sure students learn what they need to know for the state tests. Teachers in younger grades know that one size does not fit all for students – some students like to wiggle more than others, some are content to listen and remain quiet – and the teachers work to reach all their students.
Why then, when students come to college, do we as instructors rely on our old PowerPoint and lecture methods to present information? (Why also, do we have 200-person intro classes? But that’s another story). If it didn’t work for 12th graders, why do we think it will work for “13th graders?”
It hadn’t really dawned on me that I was maybe taking the easy way out with my lectures and discussion. Why not try and think about new ways and try new strategies to deliver material to my students that might work better?
Having never taught before, I was relying on how I was taught in undergrad forgetting that the reason I’m in graduate school is because I liked going above and beyond on my assignments. I could make just about any subject interesting without much prompting and could learn something from even the most god-awful boring professor. Not all of my students are like me.
This week made me pause and truly think about ways I might make my teaching more interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing what my classmates have to say!