Learning-centered teaching: Helping students learn

As the Fall semester approaches, most times as teachers, we are often concerned about what we want to teach our students and how much content to cover. We therefore put up a syllabus with an assemblage of topics spread across weeks of the semester. Usually, we provide reading list of books, articles or reference materials to keep students busy through out the semester. However, even as we prepare for teaching, we also need to prepare for learning. The two are not necessarily the same. It is not about how much we teach, but how much students learn. It is not about how much we cover but what students discover and uncover in our classes that really matters. Here is a few things to put in mind as we hope to prepare towards a fruitful semester. The “P”s to a productive teaching:

  1. Pinpoint lesson goals: What do I want students to be able to do at the end of the course. What things will they will taking away from my class? What specific skills or knowledge will they acquire through the course?
  2. Prepare lesson delivery: How do I teach the course in way students will understand. What approach(es) will be most suitable for learning. Some times a discussion approach will help students learn better than a lecture method.
  3. Provide lesson activities:  You don’t want to be standing in front of the class speaking while students are busy doing something else. Students love to be involved. Until they are engrossed, they may not become enlightened. So, the crucial question is How do I engage students in my class? What kinds of activities will help them learn?
  4.  Proffer constructive feedback: Feedback is not necessarily ‘judgmental’; it should be ‘motivational’. How do I assess my student’s progress to keep them on the path towards learning? Students who are constantly made to see how they can improve their work, will keep performing better.

In other words, our syllabi should not be designed around textbooks or reading lists but on specific lesson outcomes (products). It is always tempting to focus on what we want our students to read, rather than what we want them to understand. We should focus more on learning than just teaching.

It is when we move from teaching to learning, that our teaching becomes ‘productive’. It is not just about the breadth of what we teach in class, but the depth of what students get from such class that matters mosts.

 

3 Comments »

  1. Techgape

    August 27, 2019 @ 10:10 am

    1

    Very useful article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Techgape

    August 27, 2019 @ 10:12 am

    2

    Very informative.

  3. Dr Valeria Lo Iacono

    April 2, 2020 @ 9:42 am

    3

    I think the ‘P’ approach very well and I agree that what the students ultimately get out of it is the essential part. The P approach works though! 🙂
    All the best.

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