Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Harvard's new and startling teaching insights on teaching

Brace yourselves. At The Chronicle, "Harvard Seeks to Jolt University Teaching" is so revolutionary that you might fall off your chairs.

  • "Faculty would need to provide timely and specific feedback, and move beyond lectures in which students can sit passively receiving information."
  • "The traditional lecture also fails at other educational goals: prodding students to make meaning from what they learn, to ask questions, extract knowledge, and apply it in a new context."
  • "Writing is often an effective pedagogical tool, too."
  • "Taking a test on something is a very effective way to learn about it."

  • Are you shocked and surprised yet?

    Out in the educational blogosphere, we've been over (and over and over) these ideas, especially the whole "let's get rid of the lecture" idea that crops up as a brand spanking new insight every year or so. (And yet we're encouraged to do podcasts of our classes, which means capturing a lecture through visual or audio means.)

    I'm of two minds about this article. On one hand, it's good that there's a conversation going on about effective teaching methods, especially in rescuing the much-maligned test as a teaching tool from the current disdain for it. On the other hand, there is not one single idea in the whole article that hasn't been discussed repeatedly and for years in other venues, which makes me think that nothing has changed.


    Bardiac said...

    Wow! I've never heard such exciting, innovative teaching news!

    Or not.

    feMOMhist said...

    hello Ivy league? stop phoning it in.

    Ink said...

    Next up: "group work allows students to interact with each other and the material in an effective pedagogical way."


    undine said...

    Bardiac--"or not," I'm guessing.

    FeMOMhist--I know! Why can't I run a prestigious conference to spout platitudes, if they're giving out money for that this year?

    Ink--I think really WAS one of the suggestions--no lie.