Sunday, November 6, 2011

Respond to "Effective Teaching and Learning" Chapter

1. The first guideline states to start with questions about nature. Each discipline has specific central questions that form the core of the discipline. For one (or more) of your courses, think about what the central questions are that you want your students to be able to discuss, struggle with, and ultimately understand by the end of the course.

2. The next guideline provides suggestions for engaging students actively. How have you engaged students in your courses in the past? What worked? What didn’t work? For both questions, why or why not?

3. The guidelines suggest that STEM instructors “deemphasize the memorization of technical vocabulary.” Do you think this is a sound approach? Why or why not? Are there ways to introduce technical vocabulary without turning students off of science?

4. The chapter suggests that science teaching should reflect the scientific process as much as possible. Have you attempted this with your beginning students? How can we encourage curiosity and avoid dogmatism while giving students a foundational knowledge in the discipline(s)? And for those not in science fields, how do you teach in ways that reflect your disciplinary processes and require students to perform your disciplinary processes? In other words, how are you practicing your field’s signature pedagogies?

5. The last point in the chapter centers around a key struggle for anyone teaching an introductory course in a transfer institution: the notion that teaching must take its time. In our courses, we wish to take the time to ensure in-depth understanding of the subject, but we also must teach enough breadth of the topic so that students are prepared to go on to upper-level courses. How do you approach the breadth vs. depth dilemma in your courses? In other words, how do you balance the pressure toward “coverage” with the desire to “uncover” a few major ideas or principles that students will retain years from now?

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