I’m inspired by Jean’s Teaching Innovation Statement. There are many great components that are described in the statement that I wish were implemented more widely. Jean described lectures in a very real way. There are many factors that break the attention between the student and the content. Other students, personal lives, technology, feelings or unimportance or irrelevance, and general lack of interest are all barriers that stand strong in the average lecture.
It wasn’t really I started my doctorate program where I felt that my professors were genuinely interested in me and what I had to say. I believe that graduate school is mostly successful at implementing some of the changes that Jean made to her class. Individualized programs and classes, freedom to allow learning styles, preferences, abilities, schedules, and comfort levels to dictate how objectives are met and content are mastered. The problem is that many undergraduate programs and courses do not extend the same type of instruction. Online learning might be an option but it is hardly as involved in the way that Jean describes. Hands-on activities, well-developed assessments, feedback, and video or in-person lectures are some of the components that are void in courses. Some schools, programs, and courses have been successful at implementing some of these components. I believe that there has been an effort to change the landscape of education. And rightly so, because gone are the days of colleges with only traditional students enrolled. Our lives are different than they were years ago.
I wonder how education might change if more classrooms (face-to-face and online) began to look like that of Jean’s. Do you– the reader–believe that things would be different with more accommodating options? Or is it ambitious to think that real change may come to the education system with options like these?