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Jul. 4th, 2015 07:18 am
beccastareyes: Image of Sam from LotR. Text: loyal (Default)
[personal profile] beccastareyes
I need some teachign icons.

It's really tough remembering to journal regularly. I'm currently on my summer vacation: I took a class in June, which I let eat up all my time because it was a class on teaching and I want to be a better teacher. I got some good lessons on teaching in general as well as on the method in particular.

The method is called 'the flipped classroom' and it's based around two ideas:

1. Lectures or reading might be good ways to introduce material, but lecture alone is terrible for retention, even when students think they got it. I've certainly had the 'this all made sense when Doctor Smith was explaining it in class, but doing it on my own is an exercise in frustration'. At best, that means students come to office hours or seek their peers or the help center for extra help. More likely, they flail about. (This is why we assign homework: so students can practice using the stuff we make them learn.)

2. 'Homework' and applications are the times students are most likely to need interaction with an instructor or peer. Lecture is traditionally not very interactive. So why not have the application as time in class when the professor is around, and the lecture at home before class when it doesn't matter if the instructor recorded it three years ago? Hence, 'flipped'.

The class I took had us making a flipped module, but also had us talking about various things about measuring if students are learning, setting reasonable expectations, lower and higher order thinking and how to make group work work when there's always at least one person who is The Load. The class was a mix of fields: we had two engineers, me, a computer scientist, an environmental planner, the business librarian (who guest lectures on 'how to research things'), a speech teacher, someone from the masters in education program, and someone from the social sciences that was looking at her field's research methods course. One of the guest lecturers reminded me about exactly how much stuff is out there for physics education (he was an engineer and had adapted things).

I also got my schedule for Fall. Good news: it's all classes I've taught before, which means that not only do I have 2.5 months to plan everything, I can adapt things. I also don't have to teach on Fridays, so that means I'll probably do an office hour Friday morning, then leave around lunchtime. Bad news: I got the evening classes, probably because I was 'meh' instead of 'hell no'* on the schedule. So the draft schedule has me teaching Physics at 4, Astronomy at 5, break for dinner at 6, then the same physics again at 7.

Now, I might just shift my schedule so I get up later in the morning, except it is impossible to get a good parking spot after 8 AM on campus and I can't wait until the day shift go home because I also need office hours (also, I think 4 is a bit too early for that). So I have to decide if it's better to show up to work right before lunch and have to walk across all of campus (and then either move my car during my dinner break or walk back in the dark), or schedule 'mid-day siesta/goof off break' in my office.

I still think I like this schedule better than 'first class starts at 8, last class ends at 6', which I've done two terms out of three. Because it's a lot easier when you have a long break to work on class prep and grading.

(The evening class has a mixed reputation: on the one hand, it's usually the class with empty seats because no one wants to be there. And small classes are awesome for learning things. On the other, the 'no one wants to be here' means low everything scores. If I can get good reviews here, I shall consider this a badge of pride.)

* One of the virtues of being childless and single: my time is a lot more flexible than most.

Date: 2015-07-09 01:52 am (UTC)
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)
From: [personal profile] everbright
I've read about the flipped classroom thing. I have to say, it would have saved my bacon in math. I only passed my last required math class in university b/c my mother sneaked around behind my back and paid the math tutor in the homework lab to always be around when I tended to drop by!

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