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University of Michigan - case study - YouTube - Jim Huggins
September 23rd, 2011
01:30 pm
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University of Michigan - case study - YouTube

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From:wibble42
Date:September 24th, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
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Very interesting. It sounds like a move away from a lecture-only environment to a seminar environment (which is a much older form of teaching - it's the standard over here, anyway). We depend a lot on group work in seminars as well.

I've seen one of those rooms with white-board walls. Very, very cool, but I think no one really knows how to use them yet. I've only ever seen them used as replacements to big pieces of paper for presentations/brainstorms, but I think they would probably benefit younger students (middle school age).

I do have two issues with the way things are presented here, though.

1. Who only ever lectures? I know my teachers were constantly moving desks around, creating circles and groups. In fact, standard classroom shape was a circle in most of my literature classes throughout high school and college. Lecturing has its time and place (and I think sometimes information really does need to be downloaded into students' heads - especially as first years), but there are so many ways of dealing with information that anyone who does only one way (whether lecturing, seminars, group work, whatever) seems to me to be missing the point of teaching. Students learn in different ways, yes, but they also need to learn to handle our questions in different situations, which I think means forcing them to learn in unfamiliar ways as well.

2. I wonder a little if this movement towards interactive learning styles isn't so much an attempt to keep students involved and for the teachers to look 'progressive' as much as it is trying to make sure students can't sit and screw around on their computers and phones. Learning IS interactive, and there's no need to use a lot of technology except as a distraction from other distracting technology... (I say that as a literature teacher, however... I know it's different for other disciplines).
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From:jkhuggins
Date:September 24th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
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Part of this may be a difference in disciplines. In STEM disciplines, the "lecture-only" model is still extremely common. In part, that's because of the nature of the discipline; there's only one "right" answer to solving a particular integral, while there are (presumably) many "right" answers to deciphering the meaning of a particular piece of literature.

And, sure, it's not universal even within STEM. I try not to "just" lecture. But it's easy to slip into it without noticing.
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