I love school. I have always loved school since the very first day of kindergarten. I even tried to trick my mom that school started earlier.
That being said, I am not a very good listener for learning. When I came to college, I had a bit of a panic because I sat (aka slept) through many of my lectures because I struggled to pay attention. I was worried that I was unintentionally wasting college. I did attend 99.8% of my classes unless I was at death’s door ill. I worked hard outside of class. I am a kinesthetic learner, and learn by writing and by doing. I basically taught myself what I needed to know to advance. It served me well. I graduated cum laude in my undergraduate career and summa cum laude for my Master’s from Virginia Tech. That being said, I still greatly value the concept of a physical class.
I get frustrated when I am talked at. I get frustrated when discussion is forced. It is just not how I learn. I agree, for the most part, with Robert Talbert’s four things a lecture should be used for. There is no advantage to a lecture that just repeats its reading. It needs to expand and enhance. My roommate, an intelligent and upcoming biological engineer, intentionally skips a class every week. She doesn’t do this because she is uninterested or a bad student. She does it because all the teacher does for the class period is present a power point lecture of the chapters that he had the students read. She asked me, “why do I need to go hear exactly what I just read?” My roommate is also in the course we discussed in class last week that was described as a “triple flip with a twist”. Every week, I see her actively engaged with the work for this class. She will sit down on a Friday night and watch the videos or complete the “pre-class” activity. This is a class that she never misses.
Shifting gears now, I want to talk about Mark Carnes’ post about Setting Students’ Minds on Fire. I am all for active learning and contextualizing it for a subject area. I love the idea of incorporating a game like the one he mentions. I still fondly remember my AP government class from high school where our teacher had us divide into table groups and become countries. My group kidnapped another group’s leader for the sake of bargaining for better trade from his country.
I am a PhD student in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and I am specializing in the area of events management. Events management is not something that can just be read about. Students need to be actively engaged in an experiential learning process in order to properly learn the elements of event planning and coordination. I hope to develop classes that reflect this.
Tying back to the start of this blog post, I hope as a future teacher that I can avoid the booby trap of “read the power point” classes. I don’t want to sit there and just talk at people almost as much as I don’t like people just talking at me.