learner-centered teaching

Balancing the Teaching-Learning Equation

When I first started working on teaching and learning, I focused on teaching. The instructional development program I headed at Penn State had as its mission “to support faculty efforts to maintain and improve instructional quality.” I read, thought, and wrote about characteristics known to

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responsive planning

Responsive Planning Improves Learning and Teaching

Educators concerned with the quality of learning and instruction have called for a greater focus on students’ thinking to inform instruction and have offered a variety of pathways for achieving that aim (Brookfield, 2017; Robertson, Scherr, & Hammer, 2015; Simkins & Maier, 2010; Weimer, 2013).

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learner-centered teaching

Is My Teaching Learner-Centered?

It’s hard to say—we have no definitive measures of learner-centeredness or even mutually agreed upon definitions. And yet, when we talk about it, there’s an assumption that we all understand the reference.

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making choices - door 1, 2 or 3

Benefits of Giving Students Choices

We already do give students some choices. We let them choose paper topics, decide what to do for group projects, select subjects for artwork—and we’ve seen them struggle to make those choices. Most students don’t see selecting content as an opportunity to explore an area

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tug of war

Why Students Resist Active Learning

The recent decades have seen growing faculty interest in learning. Increasingly, teaching is being understood in terms of how well it promotes and facilitates learning. Faculty are more familiar than ever with the evidence that favors active learning over lecture. And although many still lecture,

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students doing lab experiment

Active Learning: In Need of Deeper Exploration

Most of us think we know what active learning is. The word engagement quickly comes to mind. Or, we describe what it isn’t: passive learning. Definitions also abound. The one proposed by Bonwell and Eison in an early (and now classic) active learning monograph is

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Student in lecture hall

More Evidence That Active Learning Trumps Lecturing

The June-July issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter highlights a study you don’t want to miss. It’s a meta-analysis of 225 studies that compare STEM classes taught using various active learning approaches with classes taught via lecture. “The results indicate that average examination scores improved

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A Few Concerns about the Rush to Flip

I have some concerns about flipping courses. Maybe I’m just hung up on the name—flipping is what we do with pancakes. It’s a quick, fluid motion and looks easy to those of us waiting at the breakfast table. I’m not sure those connotations are good

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Diversifying the Role Course Content Plays

Peter Burkholder’s recently published piece in The History Teacher (highlighted in the October issue of The Teaching Professor) is another reminder of how much we need a different way of thinking about course content.

We all pretty much agree that we try to cover too

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The Teaching-Learning Synergy

This weekend I saw a diagram with visual representations of teacher-centered instruction juxtaposed to graphics illustrating learner-centered approaches. I heard myself telling someone that I used to think of them as separate, and I still see value in understanding the differences between them. But thinking

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