Teaching needs to be student-oriented

  • course begins where the students are; not where professor is
  • students expected to bring needed skills i.e. background knowledge, self-motivation
  • professor accepts responsibility for motivation, clarity, and supportive teaching
  • students are treated with same respect, and dignity expected by the professor
  • individual differences are expected, welcomed and supportive
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Activities are problem-centered and student-driven

  • students are active learners
  • course is built on real problems that relate to student goals and interest
  • easier problems are dealt with earlier in the course and used to provide paradigms and activity models
  • students have some flexibility in problem selection
  • busy work and repetition are minimized
  • when possible, students work at their own pace and own schedule
  • students are encouraged/required to work together in groups and provide suggestions, feedback and support to on another

Teaching is developmental rather than directive or presentational

  • students are active creators of knowledge, not passive receivers of information
  • multiple answers are often accepted
  • emphasis is on understanding and application rather that memorization and repetition
  • students allowed broad flexibility and encouraged toward self-direction
  • professor guides but does not dictate

Sample Active Learning Techinques

  • Think-Pair-Share: students reflect on a question/issue for o-2 minutes. Students find a peer and they work together to form a correct response or provide an overview of the information. Then they share to entire class.
  • Meeting of the Minds: students role play two alternative point of views. (prepare in advance.)
  • Cold-calling: single student must share with class their conclusion supported by reasons and evidence. Students receive a question/issue in advance to have opportunity to prepare answers. could also be used as a group activity during which students compare evidence and prepare reasons without knowing who will be called on to provide final justification.
  • Discussion Method: Open ended story/case study provides a vehicle for analysis, criticism and reaching conclusions.
  • Reciprocal Peer Questioning: Students prepare questions on lecture, reading, experiment, etc. that they share with a group and discuss to answer with supporting evidence. Each group chooses 1 question to share with the large group as a discussion starter.
  • Conference Style Learning: Teacher functions as facilitator, time keeper and discussion guide, adding strategic questions to keep the discussion going. Students perform as experts on a given issue.
  • Ambiguity: Provide students with conflicting information that they must think their way through in order to create a response that can be justified.