Four Things Lecture Is Good For conveys a simple, but always being overlooked, principle: instructors should teach students thinking in lectures, rather than cover materials. It has been recognized that modern education changed from “teaching-centered” to “learning-centered”. This means that the primary purpose of any forms of teaching, including lecture, is to improve the ability of the learner. The role of instructor in learning becomes minimum and learner is the center of learning. In a lecture, Robert Talbert thinks, to model thought process, to share cognitive structure, to give contexts, and to tell story are the four missions of the lecturer. As far as I am concerned, all these four missions are to teach students how to think. Just like the old proverb, to teach students how to think will benefit them for a long time.
However, how to teach students how to think is an interesting topic. When all efforts of an teacher is to tell student the steps of thinking in an abstract way, to draw knowledge maps, or to make categories of cognitive units, this information itself becomes “materials”. In these times, examples including facts and general knowledge are important. I do agree with that telling stories is a good approach to fulfill the purpose of teaching students how to think, but video games seem to go too far. James Paul Gee’s arguments have some reasonable points. For me, it is okay to use video games as a sort of metaphor, video games themselves are not transcendence or extension of reality but escape or distortion of reality. We should by no means learn any thing from or through video games. Moreover, Gee’s arguments are very easy to be misunderstood. In my opinion, the best expression of ideas in the reading articles in this week is still “learning through action, and reflection”.