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Weimar’s Principles

Weimar posits three principles to set the stage for student (or, at a basic level, human) development. These principles are

1. It’s About Who Is Responsible for What in the Teaching-Learning Process

          • What is the faculty responsible for, and what is the student responsible for? It is a simple yet profound question. You can be the greatest teacher in the world, but if your students are unmotivated, uninterested, or uncooperative, they may learn nothing. The student as well as the instructor must, at some basic level, be held responsible for learning.

2. It’s About Logical Consequences, Not Discipline

          • Oh. Please. For the love of the giant pasta monster in the sky, LET THERE BE CONSEQUENCES FOR ACTIONS. “Affluenza” is not a good excuse for not completing an assignment, much less drunk driving and the deaths of multiple individuals. I like to believe I’m a reasonable, competent adult. Sometimes, I have to make decisions about what gets done when based on my own personal agenda instead of someone else’s syllabus. If there is no mechanism in place for taking care of my issues, I try to work with other adults to figure out what the consequences of my actions will be so I can make an informed decision. Sometimes A and B consequences are wildly different; sometimes not. But they are my consequences to choose between and no one else’s at this point of my life.

3. It’s About Consistency in Word and Deed

          • Actions speak louder than words. It’s a neat little saying that explains why students act in the manner that they do even when it directly contradicts something an instructor has previously communicated. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results all the time is crazy (see Einstein); this is why I like consistency from my instructors – that way I don’t think I AM going crazy simply from being in their course.

 

Aware of these principles or not, the best teachers I have ever had used them in their teaching. They may have created an environment of cognitive dissonance, but there was still a foundation for the course that we could fall back on and hold onto as a “truth” even as we were exploring new ideas, concepts, and activities.

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