Media and pedagogy (??)
I wish that these readings and way of teaching were around when I was an undergraduate. If so, I may have had a completely different experience. As someone who has ADD, I learn differently than many of my peers. The examples that were used in these readings are reminiscent with many of the issues that I had as a young student. This included the non-interactive methods of teaching. I used to have a lot of trouble concentrating in long lecture classes because my mind would drift. I feel that 2-3 hour lectures without any breaks is quite difficult for anyone, much less students who have learning disabilities.
I agree with Nilson in regards to Non-traditional students. It didn’t click with me until I read the portion about how non-trads bring their life experience into the classroom. Theory is “hard for them” and they want practical information. When I first returned to graduate school, I too had issues with theory. It took quite a bit of time to be able to delve back into academic readings because of that issue.
In regards to the portions about developing a rapport with different students, I thought it would be more appropriate to talk about any student who may come from a “marginalized background rather than specifically point out specific groups (African-American/Hispanic/Women). It also seemed that this reading was specifically for new educators in US-based schools.
My final note is from Weiner’s piece when discussing the race to cover content. I completely agree that the traditional way of memorizing content has been detrimental to the learning process. There are many classes in my undergraduate years where I can remember spending all night to study for a test, take the test and completely forget any of the information the very next day. I think about the way that higher ed is becoming more and more like a corporation and that in an ideal word, teaching content in an interactive fashion may be ideal, will professors be able to do this with class sizes of 30 and more?
I really enjoyed this week’s readings, I wish I had made the time to read these around midterm to get me thinking sooner about the content and layout of my syllabus for our final project.
I also strongly agree with the points made about content-learning and the approaches you can take to facilitate this in the class room. In the past, when I have taught, I always try to give my students “real world” or practical examples to illustrate how they could use (or others have used) the particular lesson covered in a real world situation.
Pedagogy is a scary word. At least I think so. I had a vague idea of its meaning, but I think I mixed it up with methodology frequently. This being my first semester of teaching anything (other than 1-on-1 tutoring) I wish I had read these at the beginning of the semester. I find myself in front of a classroom at 8:00 in the morning when all the students are sleepy (if they even got out of bed to get there) and I found that I have had trouble keeping them engaged to learn the material. I do alright in lectures if I can force myself to concentrate, but I feel that interactivity is going to become more and more relevant to teaching especially as we go forward into the future as people sink further into technology and the type of interactivity they experience there.
Within my own experience as an undergraduate, I guess it never reallly occurred to me that there were multiple ways of teaching something. The majority of my classes were straight up lectures with no engagement/participation, except on days that we discussed the readings. For the most part the professor stood in front of a classroom and just lectured to the class about the topic for 50 minutes to 2 1/2 hours depending on the length. I feel I would have learned more and retained that information if the teaching styles mentioned in these readings had been implemented.
I liked the discussion they had about diversity in the classroom whether that be how non-traditional students approach information differently (something I had never thought about before). The school I attended as an undergrad had a high non-trad student population. I’ve been in many classes with these students, but it never really occurred to me (until I was a grad student and have seen it in my own classes) that non-trad people may learn differently due to life experience/age/etc.
I believe this is where we were asked to write about a teacher that had a great teaching style in the classroom. I think the best teacher I ever had was my junior high band teacher. He just had a really good rapport with his students. He knew how to get information across to people and help the excel, but he also used his sense of humor very well in the classroom. Humor was used to keep people engaged in whatever we were talking about or trying to play that day. He had the patience of a saint too. He never got up in front of us and just lectured or just had us play a piece without any interaction. Maybe it is different because it was a music classroom, but he kept people very involved in what we were all doing together. He gave immediate constructive feedback and was very supportive and helpful in the learning process.
In college the best professor I had was a history teacher who did not just get up there and give you dates to memorize. She maximized classroom discussion through readings and instead of lecturing would put out ideas and have us discuss them. She was more of a guide for the class to teach ourselves instead of her teaching us. She provided the information we needed to succeed and steered us in the directions she wanted us to go, but other than that it was very interactive and independent. It just sucked if people didn’t do the reading.
I really enjoyed this weeks readings. It was refreshing to read something that is about teaching, and that is so well written, and provides examples – too often we hear phrases like ‘learner centered teaching’ that have just become complete cliches. For people like us, who are just entering into teaching, having these cliches clearly defined, with real life examples, is very helpful. I really liked the use of examples in the Weimer reading, as it demonstrated how to execute many of the educational tools she spoke of. Too often I have found classroom techniques seem to be completely omitted from discussion, which I find really frustrating, being a young teacher, working on developing my teaching style/ techniques.
I found the Nilson reading very useful as well, and will be revising some areas of my syllabus, based on this reading. I found it very interesting how we are able to group learners (for example, ‘mature students’), and how/ what they like to learn. When looking back at my time as an Undergrad, it seems that most of this is true.
As an undergrad, I often found myself with tutors who are stuck in their ways, unwilling to compromise on anything, with very fixed ideas on right and wrong (which in art school can be very problematic), so I am keen to make myself a tutor who can be friendly (although still authoritive) and relate to my students.
Teaching at It’s Best, the work by Nilson, I found to be so encouraging and enlightening. The idea of understanding how to engage your students as well as yourself is so important. For my syllabus I decided to include this reading for my students. I feel that some may view this as dangerous, however I feel it is important in this day and age to show your student’s your perspective and your goals.
Perhaps with this explanation, students may understand why you do what you do. Showing them this article doesn’t take away from the actual carrying it out. Equipping students with the critical and analytical mindset they need for the rest of their careers is a vital challenge I feel everyone needs to take.
When I first heard the word pedagogy, I was like most of my colleagues in this class intimidated by the terminology, but it is through the assistance of readings such as those from this week’s assignments combined with the experience of teaching which renders pedagogy a very useful ally.
With my first classes I assumed that following the guidelines of professors who had formerly instructed my class and winging it while considering the needs of my students in class was enough. That assumption could not have been further from the truth. With the wide variety of students who exist in each classroom, an instructor needs to be thoughtful of how he/she presents information and engages students in the learning journey. Ultimately, when teaching composition I came to the realization that my students should see me as a student as well. I might not be at the same level of expertise as them in regard to coursework, however I am very much a student throughout life. I wanted to open them up to the realization that all of life serves as a means by which individuals may be further enlightened on a regular basis and that I too was engaged in that process.
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