Tag Archives: pedagogy

“Education, when rightly understood, will be found to lie in the art of asking apt and fit questions…”

Bronson Alcott continues, “…and in thus leading the mind by its own light to the perception of truth.”  Using discussion questions to develop ideas instead of using the rote learning method to reinforce “the” right ideas was considered outrageous in … Continue reading

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“If we do not consciously and intentionally seek to change the norms in our classrooms, we are likely to find ourselves . . .with students paying only civil attention.”

Sociologist Jay Howard notes that in 1976 researchers Karp and Yoels distinguished between students who paid attention from students who created the appearance of paying attention, which they termed “civil attention.” If you ever had a hard time getting a … Continue reading

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“The growth mindset is based on the belief in change.”

I’m coming to the realization that it’s not a lack of ability that holds most students back: their beliefs about their abilities hold them back. Carol Dweck calls their beliefs “mindsets.” She says that students have either a “fixed” mindset, … Continue reading

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“Usual advice for new faculty is sporadic, anecdotal, and unproven — no matter how well intentioned.”

This book is based on the author’s research, conducted over a period of 20 years, on the work habits of faculty members. He studied the behavioral patterns of academics as they taught, wrote, and interacted with their colleagues. From this, … Continue reading

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“Teaching is situational.”

One of the first lessons that new teachers learn is that it’s impossible to predict how well a workshop, lecture or discussion will work. Teaching is situational. What works well in one class might not work in another. That’s why … Continue reading

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“The first key fact is that attention is limited.”

Pay attention! Isn’t that the first step to. . . well. . . just about everything? It turns out, however, that most of us are terrible judges of how well we can focus. We tend to think that we can … Continue reading

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“Let them discover.”

When I started teaching  years ago, my job was to give information to students, and their job was to pay attention. I don’t see it this way anymore. Instead, I embrace an approach called learner-centered teaching. Maryellen Weimer, arguably the … Continue reading

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“I began to think about what it means to be a facilitator of learning rather than a teacher.”

What is the difference between “educating people” and “helping people learn”? This classic book by Malcolm Knowles — the central figure in US adult education during the last century — explores the different sets of assumptions behind these two approaches. … Continue reading

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“There should be brief intervals of time for quiet reflection . . .”

In this 1938 book about educational theory, John Dewey continues: “But they are periods of genuine reflection only when they follow after times of more overt action and are used to organize what has been gained . . .” He … Continue reading

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“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deep thing.”

Are poems tools? The 90 contributors to this book think so. They describe how specific poems have helped them. For example, our line this week, from the poem “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye, was submitted by a teacher who has those words … Continue reading

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“For the most part, we are going about learning in the wrong ways.”

The authors tell us that going over and over something is “a time-consuming study strategy that yields neglibile benefits at the expense of much more effective strategies that take less time.” (15) What works better? Quizzing yourself, or writing a … Continue reading

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