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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) Attention

We Must Realize What We Are – And Aren't – Teaching

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(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

By?Dale Schlundt, M.A.

Consider the teachings one may learn without having to be fully conscious that they are happening. Take something simple, for example walking into a new building for the first time. With everyone you observe, your mind is giving you feedback with different multitude of judgements. How much of an individual is wearing, themselves language, as well as their responses for your gestures?–?all of that teaches us something in a relatively short time frame.

Some might refer to this as second nature, yet it is essentially learning and teaching without calling it either. ?I\’ve discovered this to be a fruitful concept from a pedagogical standpoint. What percentage of us actively question this time to ourselves, \”What am I teaching students and what are they learning after i may not realize it’s?occurring?\”

Whether the first is an educator inside a secondary or post-secondary school, research has shown that engaging students results in increased understanding, retention from the content, and comprehensive learning. How educators promote interaction with and among their students obviously varies. Whatever the methodologies facilitated by the instructor, for example class discussions, group projects, varieties, the challenge is within addressing the length of time educators allocate to allowing students to practice this interaction that has been awarded such merit.

One could suggest that we should question the correlation of two aspects in our classes on a daily basis. The first is how efficient we expect our students to be in collaborating, active listening, and making their very own inferences. The issue that follows is about how much?time ?we use for lecturing alone, essentially teaching these to do none of those skills essential for enhanced learning. Perhaps for any majority of the semester we all do lecture, only periodically allowing our students to experience an active role in the class, besides the typical Q&A. If this sounds like the case, we may find our expectations exceeding students’ collaborative skills, as we are teaching them to avoid the very thing we expect from their store.

The trend toward student-centered learning continues to grow. According a?UCLA Higher Education Research Institute\’s report in 2014, lecturing on the large scale continues to drop since their research began recording its use among full-time faculty at four year colleges in 1989. However, the 2013-2014 research shows?only 50.6 percent of the nationwide faculty surveyed still counting on lecture to some significant degree at least part of the semester. The information show improvement happening, but not necessarily at as fast of pace as you might assume.

Of course, there\’s a place for lecture and sophistication size will limit some courses to such, which is arguably why we continue to see a high number at universities?– although most would argue it is never as effective as facilitation, where the instructor directs the conversation and infuses necessary knowledge to spur dialogue among students. ?While being aware that we are teaching content through lecture, we may be unaware that we\’re also teaching students to forego skills such as being constructively critical, speaking, and coming to conclusions. [1]

Many educators, myself included at times, feel as though they can\’t cover enough content otherwise integrating lecture at least proportionately with class discussions or similar activities. It\’s a valid concern. That said, if research proves those pedagogical and andragogical strategies that call for student interaction among peers to work, do we trade?quality for quantity? The aim should be to achieve both and thru adapting curriculum in addition to assessments it\’s truly an attainable goal.

I have found that in post-secondary history courses, the relevance from the material to my students\’ lives is, in most cases, sufficient in generating student discussion throughout the length of the semester. Therefore, completing the required content doesn\’t create a hurdle. I could be simply lucky in regards to the subject matter I teach. There is no doubt every discipline will have advantages in addition to disadvantages in terms of how a class has to be structured for success. However, as with educators of all disciplines, teaching philosophies are more than theories, and require?experiments in which?pragmatic planning is indispensable.

Nevertheless, if a person happened to enter a classroom when a teacher assigns students a task that required collaboration, with this particular being accompanied by looks of confusion and a lack of confidence, you might obviously question, “Why?” ?The answer is clear?–?we all do well at what we practice. As educators, we should challenge ourselves to break down into percentages?the?amount of emphasis and time that\’s?realistically allocated to the skills where we wish our students to become proficient.

Are we teaching our students how to be active learners whenever we have class with limited collaboration or student input? When we forego opportunities for student centered learning, remodel which will we are unwittingly proliferating confusion and minimized confidence when our students are inspired to practice critical thinking in a context outside the classroom. Apart from content, let us take note of what we are teaching our students when we don\’t even realize that we are teaching them.

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Reference: [1] Eagan, M.K., Stolzenburg, E.B., Berdan Lozaon, J., Aragon, M.C., Surchard, M.R., and Hurtado, S. (2014). Undergraduate Teaching Faculty, 2013-2014 HERI Faculty Survey. La: Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA.

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