Note to Faculty: Don’t Be Such a Know-It-All – Teaching – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Note to Faculty: Don’t Be Such a Know-It-All – Teaching – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

This isn’t news. I’ve been doing this for decades.

Not long after I started teaching, I came to realize that a good way to learn how to do something is by watching someone actually do it – NOT by watching someone show you the finished solution.*

I started doing programming assignments from scratch, that I had purposefully NOT worked out ahead of time. Then, after I’d been teaching for a decade or so, I had become pretty familiar with the kinds of problems the students would typically have and the usual blind alleys they would pursue – so sometimes I did problems where I was the one who followed those blind alleys and tried to implement those misconceptions.

*It has always bugged me that most instructors of math only show you the right way to do things – which is, of course, NOT how the problem was understood or solved the first time. Proofs didn’t appear right the first time – it is important for people to learn the thinking that goes on (especially the ideas that are discarded) when a proof is constructed.

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Note to Faculty: Don’t Be Such a Know-It-All – Teaching – The Chronicle of Higher Education — 2 Comments

    • You are in the minority when it comes to teaching math. I like the name.
      I knew I wasn’t the only one.

      I experimented
      with having my lectures entirely driven by student questions about
      the examples or exercises in their textbook. The first two times
      I tried this, it was not very successful—I covered all the
      material, but many freshmen were upset by the lack of organization
      and offended that I expected them to read the book and try the
      problems before coming to class.

      I’ve tried that too – got similar complaints – it’s kind of sad that so many students seem to miss the point of learning.
      It worked extremely well in my inquiry-based programming class – the class was by invitation only (top 2-4% of freshmen).

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