Shifting the focus from “teaching” to helping students learn
Eric Mazur‘s engaging talk “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer“ at the University of Maryland on 11 November 2009. The abstract reads: “I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students’ performance significantly.”
Via the American Education Research Association list-serv (thanks, Richard Hake!):
That talk is now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwslBPj8GgI
The abstract, slides, and references — sometimes obscured in the YouTube talk — are here as a 4 MB pdf.
For other commentary critical of the passive-student lecture — a staple of U.S. higher education — see e.g.:
- “Scholars at a Lecture” [Hogarth (1822)];
- “The Lecture System in Teaching Science” [Morrison (1986)] – a MUST-READ all-time classic!;
- “Science Lectures: A relic of the past? [Mazur (1996)];
- “The College Lecture, Long Derided, May Be Fading” [Honan (2002)];
- “Re: The college lecture may be fading” [Hake (2002)];
- “Mary Burgan’s Defense of Lecturing” [Hake (2007)];
- “At M.I.T., Large Lectures Are Going the Way of the Blackboard” [Rimer (2009)];
- “Farewell, Lecture?” [Mazur (2009)].
UPDATE: Lab Out Loud has a fantastic interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on science literacy. (Thanks, Aaron!)