Sunday, March 22, 2009

Think About It, part I

I picked this up last night from a teachery site (basically rants about our beloved higher education experience--so cathartic). Couple that with a book I've been reading, L. Dee Fink's Creating Significant Learning Experiences, and I'm starting to bend my mind around a new thinking about higher ed.

I have resisted mightily all this K-12 "drift-up" of assessments, Student Learning Outcomes, scorings, reading other classes' essays and the like, feeling instead like I was the one being scored. It's partly true, I realize, because we as teachers are the one constant in education. A good teacher, according to Malcolm Gladwell's piece, teaches up to a year-and-a-half's worth of material; a poor teacher accomplishes about three-fourths of what is expected.

But this video hits on my level of education, and my fondly-held beliefs are sliding away, inch by inch. I resisted the idea that we move away from content-centered teaching to student-centered teaching because it all sounded so, well, chaotic. I had this vision of a classroom of hepped up freshmen, tuned into iPods, throwing pencils or Twinkies at each other--basically the inmates running the institution (unfortunate metaphor, but it works). But Fink's book is wising me up to a different thinking about how I approach my classroom experience. I think of some of my students who are relying on me to present good content, as well as assist them in getting through the research paper/English 101. That responsibility weighs heavy some days.

I'm looking forward to summer, where I can really dig into my syllabus and (perhaps) even make some changes.

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