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To Those Who Stole My Dreams

Writing this to those who wanted me to be a good student! To be obedient! To memorize everything!

You people stole all my dreams, wasted my time.

Undoubtedly, I learned (or memorized) a lot, I collected a lot of dots, but there is no worth in memorizing when I had never learned how to connect dots to my promote learning when I was in school.

I really like the Seth Godin at TEDxYouth@BFS video, and how he questioned the common teaching style and why we need to ask students to do something interesting or go and figure something out instead of spending several hours giving them a lecture, he also emphasized on providing opportunities for learning how to innovate.

My first exposure to online teaching was when I was assigned as a TA to Risk Analysis and Decision-Making class at the University of Nebraska. The instructor asked me helping him to flip the classroom lectures into online (YouTube) videos, my first reaction was he is a lazy instructor. But that class turned into a fantastic experience for students and for me. the students are required to watch videos and read the PBL before the class. The class time was the time to discuss, ask the question, and practice innovative thinking. As a person who took this course five years ago, I realized that I wasted my time before when I was memorizing concepts; and through this course and all active learning activities, I comprehend and learn the course concepts deeply.

As a new professional who is going to help to raise up and to prepare new professionals, I always will keep what Palmer mentioned in my mind:

“knowing is not enough, that we are not fully human until we recognize what we know and take responsibility for it.”

Knowing does not guarantee to learn, being obedience does not dictate being a good student. I will try to raise up new professionals who are connecting dots as they are collecting dots!

7 Responses so far.

  1. I appreciate the way in which you began your blog post. This relates to me as well! I have always felt this way about education – and board with memorizing and regurgitating. It is exciting to see PBL methods applied to better the student learning experience.

  2. erinleighvt says:

    Thanks, Sogand! I agree. Memorization, while useful in some instances, is not the point of education or of learning. I can memorize something and not remember it a week later. Does that mean I learned whatever I memorized? Probably not. In my opinion, true learning comes from understanding. And if I understand something now, I will probably still understand it a week from now. I may lose sight of that understanding and need to refresh myself somewhere down the road … but I know that understanding is stored somewhere in my brain. It just needs to be dusted off 🙂

  3. Tyler Quick says:

    Great post! Which I could see some examples of how things were taught in the class. So much more effective to learn by doing than just by listening and taking notes. I hope you’re successful in applying what you learned!

  4. Amy Hermundstad says:

    Thanks for your post! I really appreciated your example of online teaching at the University of Nebraska. I think this reflection on our experiences after can be so important and beneficial. In this reflection, we often have more dots that can help us see an experience in a new light.

  5. arash says:

    Obedience is the scourge of innovation. Somewhere down the line the need to rule the classroom was taken one step too far into the need to rule the students minds and bodies. I am with you on that one. I also liked the example about the stigma around professors who don’t follow the traditional teaching styles. Something we all have push back against.

  6. A. Nelson says:

    I’ m just glad you won’t be stealing anyone else’s dreams! (And yes, to Arash’s comment about obedience being the scourge of innovation.)

  7. Thank you Sogand for sharing your story which relates to many of us! I especially liked your first reaction towards the instructor online approach (considering him lazy); since sometimes it is really the case, that in the name of innovation and collaboration and due to their less-structured nature, students (an instructors) tend to waste a lot of time without any genuine take-home lesson! However, I definitely agree with you that memorizing obediently is very unlikely to be helpful in enhancing our personal knowledge and/or growth.

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