Cynthia Heiner talks about the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI), a multi year project aimed at improving undergraduate science education.
An atomic physicist makes the case for active learning.
It is really hard to believe the problem when you’ve been indoctrinated into a system, until you actually test it yourself.
The results — published in 2011 in Science — were all but a knockout. The postdoc-grad student team saw better attendance, strong reviews and, most impressively, a wholesale jump in performance. Their class did twice as well as the professor’s on a 12-question multiple-choice test at the end of the week. And it wasn’t just the top or bottom performers who benefited; the entire distribution of scores was higher.
Who should decide what is the purpose of my life? Who should decide how i live and learn?
After visiting and working in many villages in Africa and India, I noticed that schooling was a vehicle for spreading industrial monoculture. It was like an AIDs virus which destroyed the immune systems of local culture, and local commons and local common sense. ‘Educated’ students became ashamed of their traditions and their elders, they became emotionally and spiritually disconnected from their fields and forests, they became useless members of their local economy. The entire backbone of community life was disrupted. My own father was a victim of this. Today it has become very clear to me that the call for ‘educating the tribals’ is very much linked to an agenda of displacing tribal communities from their land (which are full of valuable natural resources).”
Headshot, smiling light-skinned male, dark hair, glasses, in Stanford arcadeCarl Wieman knows active learning well. Developing new teaching methods, assessing others’, and conducting scholarly research on his own teaching, Wieman has long been a pioneer in the field and tireless advocate for it.
So when the journal PNAS recently published a new paper on active learning, Scientific American’s Anna Kuchment knew who to ask for comment. In the paper, Scott Freeman of the University of Washington in Seattle reviewed 225 studies and found evidence that active learning results in better student learning than traditional lecturing.
Kuchment interviewed Wieman in her blog post Stop Lecturing Me (In College Science!) of May 21, 2014. Wieman, a Nobel laureate in Physics, founder of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia, and now holding joint appointments in physics and education at Stanford, made several points clear.
Key points about active learning
Designing a course that includes active learning requires more content knowledge, not less, than teaching in the classic lecture mode. It’s not a cop out or losing the importance of expertise by the faculty.
If you use active learning techniques, you’re still telling students things; but it’s in response to their questions, their needs to solve a problem, and so they learn much more from it.
You have to work hard to use active learning in your class. You must carefully structure problems and activities to get them to think like a scientist, mathematician, etc.
Wieman wants universities to collect data on how much active learning teaching is being used in their courses. If they did that, prospective students could tell where they would get the best teaching, and universities would be motivated to adopt the most effective teaching methods.
Interview mit Manish Jain: “Nachdem ich an der Wall Street gearbeitet hatte, begann ich zu sehen, dass die meisten der schrecklichen Verbrechen gegen Menschen und den Planeten von den so genannten “Gebildeten der Eliteuniversitäten (Ivy League educated)” begangen wurden, nicht von den “ungebildeten” Menschen. Das Verrückte war, dass diese Kriminellen eigentlich keine Bösewichte waren. Viele von ihnen waren meine Freunde und wir waren wirklich nette, fürsorgliche Kerle. Viele taten Dinge, an die sie nicht einmal persönlich glaubten. Sie mussten den Befehlen folgen, sonst würden sie nicht bezahlt. Ich begann zu verstehen, wie Institutionalisierung wirklich funktioniert und welche Rolle die moderne Bildung spielt, um uns von unserem inneren Gewissen zu trennen…