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23 November; student-centred learning, and relaxation

26 November 2010

As a reminder, the afternoon exercise was to look at three rather different areas of teaching and to evaluate how effective or otherwise teacher- or student-centred approaches might be in those circumstances. The three areas were;

  • children’s linguistic development (principally cognitive domain, but with experiential underpinnings which could help or hinder for any students who are also parents).
  • cooking with batter (cognitive and/or psychomotor as you choose) and
  • Genetically modified crops (cognitive with an affective debate not far behind)

There were too many points to summarise here, but we looked at inter al.

  • what level of maturity is required of students to make use of student-centred learning, and the conditions under which they can undertake it
  • what kind of learning is best acquired this way, and what benefits most from direct instruction
  • its greater suitedness to subject matter amenable to debate, rather than “black and white”,
  • the need to “scaffold” the learning and not make greater demands than students can handle

Here’s the annotated version of the presentation from the afternoon session summarising some of the issues about student-centred learning:

On the Subject-Learner-Teacher model; more detail here. (And in discussion, I referred to Jorge Cham’s Piled Higher and Deeper cartoons)

On constructivism and the Zone of Proximal Development, go here

On specific forms or tools of student-centred learning:

Thanks to Merielle for her micro-teaching session on relaxation techniques; apart from its value in its own right it raised some interesting questions about appropriate levels of stress for learning; the Hebb curve is discussed here.

Rashid raised some questions about authority and stress in learning. I’ve addressed some of them in this rather old article, and Peter and I revisited the issue in this more recent paper, but that may go into more detail than you want at this stage of the game!

We discussed some matters arising from your returned dry-run submissions. We talked about the inclusion of a scheme of work as an appendix, to which you can refer from the main body of the submission, and I suggested that the SoW did not have to be an original one, since some of you have to work to pre-determined schemes. However, you can critique it and suggest modifications in the light of your experience and learning so far on the course.

Arising from this, Caroline posed the question of studio-based art and design programmes, which do not work to SoWs in quite the same way. I pointed her to Lee Shulman’s ideas about “signature pedagogies” (here); unfortunately I can’t find the paper of his which refers directly to art and design programmes, although I have heard him talk about it. Even so, given what Caroline said about how the “crit” circle works, it should be easy enough to make the connections.

Sorry this has taken so long to appear. Have a good weekend.

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