Saturday, September 1, 2012

How SHOULD Teachers Teach (On the College Level) ?

"I can tell you're back to work," she noted, "because I missed reading your post today!"

So, Karen, this post is for you even though it does not seem like a post about college teaching should be for you!  But, learning is learning and Cambourne's conditions are important on every level of learning (yes indeed)! Learning to ride a bike, learning to clean your room, learning to be a responsible adult, learning biology, learning to be a's all learning.......

So how should college professors (or teachers as they will heretofore be known) teach? 
Should all teachers put into place in their classrooms practices that we know are most effective and support student learning?
What is the role of large lecture halls?
Do teachers at wise, respected, and research based institutions really want to teach lowly freshmen who may or may not ever make an impact on their field?
Should teachers get to know their students?
After reading this short article, I really had lots of questions about how others who teach on the college level might feel.

As for me, a teacher of elementary students who sometimes find reading a bit challenging (at first) and of grad students who are or who hope to be teachers, I try to put in place the practices of effective teaching that I would want my students to use in their own classrooms.  I practice what I preach.  I try to get to know my students as learners and as people.  We not only have literature circles, I give lots of wait time and engage in every pupil response techniques.  I also encourage risk taking and talk regularly about my questions.  I take Cambourne's Conditions for Learning to heart.  I suspect all parents and teachers should do so!

1. Immersion } These must be accompanied by ENGAGEMENT
2. Demonstration
3. Expectation
4. Responsibility
5. Approximation
6. Employment (Use)
7. Feedback (Response)
Now, I really need to finish my syllabus for the semester (that starts in just a few days) and you need ot go off and ride bikes with your cuties because someday, even though it doesn't seem possible today, you will be packing those cuties of yours off to college (enjoy them today)!



marika said...

YES! I am *obsessed* with Cambourne's conditions for learning. I wish teachers could and would spend more time thinking about how they apply to teaching and learning! My personal favorites are split between engagement and feedback. It's that feedback during the "doing" that enables learners to "Pedal faster!", and "Look straight ahead!" What's your "favorite" condition, and how do you see it coming out in your teaching at the college level? said...

Interesting question. I must admit I don't think of one being so much more important but rather needing them ALL, all the time! It's still so interesting to me to observe that kindergarteners and grad students BOTH need to know they have to take risks (approximate) in order to learn and they BOTH need so much feedback. Yet, they also need to have models......I guess to answer, they all need it all in order to learn. I think Cambourne was one smart cookie! His conditions is be one of the most important foundations for teaching and learning (in my opinion).