Busy couple of weeks

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, as I participate in Valerie O’Loughlin’s online HAPS-I course and get ready to attend the annual HAPS conference.  Valerie’s course deals with the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), a subject that should be near to the heart of every one of us who teaches A&P.  Murray Jensen’s latest post on the value of lectures online and classroom time for active learning fits right in with the main ideas of the HAPS-I course, too.  So, I’ve had a lot to cogitate on, particularly since my summer course begins the Monday after HAPS, and I have about 100 students for 2 straight hours a day, 4 days a week for 5 weeks, plus supervising the labs.

It turns out that many scholars in education research have known for years what I’ve personally discovered, that students don’t learn best when we just tell them stuff.  Even telling them in a brilliant, organized, integrated and even entertaining lecture is not optimal for their understanding and retention of information.  Even if they think it is, and get huffy if you ask them to learn things on their own.  It also turns out that reading books isn’t sufficient, either.  I quickly gave up trying to simply read the assignments in Val’s course, and instead started writing outlines of the main points of the chapter.  Hmm, that sounds eerily like something I might have suggested to my own students.

So, I’m eagerly looking forward to 4 days packed with information and strategies to improve my teaching skills.  And, to those that can’t join us in San Antonio, my condolences.  May the anticipation of the next edition of the HAPS-Educator, which will have summaries of the convention sessions, console you.  And, if you have any great ideas for me to implement starting June 1 I’d love to hear from you!

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