We can easily come up with different ways to improve higher education since nowadays it has numerous flaws in the way it operates. Starting with the fact that most students can’t pay for higher education, therefore it would be almost impossible for them to get a job that will bring them the money needed to get more education. At some point higher education most be free or at least that student can paid for it in other ways, such as by working for the same university or even working for the state that is offering free higher education.
Taking aside the obvious fact that we should be allow to have free or cheaper education, one of the main things that should be improve is related to the Professors that are chosen to “impart wisdom and knowledge” to the students. The Professors way of teaching should not be as the one where they want every student to do the “critical thinking” but based in their own believes and ideas. In the case of Virginia Tech, I came here in January 2015, therefore I don’t have that much to say about it, but so far it has been a great experience where Professors allow us to express our way of thinking and put into practice.
I recently read a document published by the American Public Media, where a Physics Professor at Harvard University was interviewed (http://americanradioworks. publicradio.org/features/tomorrows-college/lectures/rethinking-teaching.html). The purpose was to see how Professor teaches nowadays in the University and he explained that he is doing the usual but he does not understand why student are failing or they don’t seem to enjoy the class. He explained that he’s way of teaching changed when one day he notice that after explaining something with a lot of details, only 50% of the class understood what he meant and they answered right. Thats when he decided to allow students to talk to each other and share their point of view. He discovered that even though he has years of experience and knows the topic not perfectly but a lot better than all the students, he saw that after the group activity was done more than 50% of the class understood what he was explaining. He asked himself how is it possible that with all my experience they didn’t understand but when a student explain to each other they understand perfectly or at least had the notion of whats going? thats when he realized that since he already knows the topic, is hard for him to understand what kind of difficulties can a student have, therefore between students they can clarify their own problems in a more quicker way.
With this example, is more than clear that the connection in terms of understanding between student and professor should be more clear. Professor needs to understand that their way of teaching should be updated because at some point student doesn’t need them due to the fact that we are becoming connected learners.
This is a great thing to remember as you move further into a discipline as teaching is not limited to academia. When you move into the profession there will be the need to teach others a task or a new responsibility or through management be able to express the needs of a client of a process of implementation.
The last sentence caught my attention. We will always need educators. Research has shown that non face-to-face learning environments are inferior for knowldge retention and engagement. The question is how the educator will respond to a larger and better connect student populace.
You are right Kenneth. Im 100% sure that we will always need educators, however I had the experience that when I professor is not teaching in a way that I can understand, I will stop going to his class and read the book or find the answer by myself. If educators doesn’t take that into account, less students will feel the need of a continuous interaction with them because they will feel that they can find the answer in some place else.Thats why I believe that educators need to update their teaching methods depending on the circumstances.
Thank you for sharing the example. If one to one teaching is available to all students, teachers can care about everyone’s needs. But for a course with many students, especially for large course, it is difficult for personalized teaching. Teachers should adapt their teaching strategies and apply various teaching methods.
Thank you for the example provided. It is really interesting result. This results aligns with one of the hypothesis in computer science education (mainly when applying visualizations to learning but I believe that this can be generalized) that when students act like an instructor and discuss some topic to their peers, the student engagement in the course as well as their learning gain will be improved for all of them. This is named the “presentation” level of engagement.
Thanks for your post.
I agree that the governments should decrease the expenses. But, they may not remove it. Because they need to pay to prepare better service. So, I guess something like entrance exam for the public universities may be a good solution.
I really like the example in your post! I think that students can learn a a lot from their peers, and this example really demonstrates the benefits of this peer discussion in classrooms. As you mentioned, it is not really practical for the professor to be able to anticipate all of the difficulties the students may have with a topic. And these small group discussions can allow for students to learn from each other and overcome those difficulties. And the professor can help facilitate some of those discussions. Thanks for your post!
I agree with Mohammed — this is wonderful example of why cultivating active co-learning can make such a difference in the classroom.
Thanks for posting the article. I think this is really helpful for me as someone in science to see a practical example of innovation in a science classroom.
Thanks for the post! That is a great answer and supports how much we need to receive accurate feedback from our students. Of course at times it is very apparent the students don’t understand with them giving you blank stares. I definitely agree that at times the connection in terms of understanding between students and instructors is not clear. What seems like a simple concept to the instructor may not be as simple to understand for the student. Our teaching definitely needs to tailored to the student in the way that they learn best.