Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goodbye Sage on the Stage: Interactive Teaching in Physics

I've been playing with Google Wave lately. A colleague in a "Educators Wave Directory" shared this video with the group/wave - not sure what a wave member should be called. How about surfers!

I've been trying to encourage faculty to move away from the traditional lecture style approach to teaching - the so-called sage on the stage - to an approach more rooted in asking questions, encouraging exploration, and letting the students shape their own learning. It's not easy to do. It's unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and often chaotic. BUT, when it's done well, the results are amazing to watch. Here's a great example of how to transform your teaching style from Physics Professor Eric Mazur. It's interesting that Mazur altered his approach, not because students were doing poorly, but because students were passing exams without understanding the fundamental concepts.

From Questions to Concepts: Interactive Teaching in Physics
How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In From Questions to Concepts, Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching -- two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined.
Photo by mikebaird - http://flic.kr/p/4dpM3e

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