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Teaching with a Focus on Learning. Teaching Tips by Wilbert J. McKeachie and Marilla Svinicki. Tips Galore. Teaching Tips and other books include tips on many topics. Examples Course preparation Tests and assessment What to do about cheating Understanding culturally diverse students …

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Teaching with a Focus on Learning

Teaching Tips

by Wilbert J. McKeachie and Marilla Svinicki

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Tips Galore

  • Teaching Tips and other books include tips on many topics.

    • Examples

      • Course preparation

      • Tests and assessment

      • What to do about cheating

      • Understanding culturally diverse students

    • Useful helps for the mechanics of teaching

  • We’ll consider only thoughts on learning.

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Learning, Not Teaching

  • “What is important is learning, not teaching.”

  • “Teaching effectiveness depends not just on what the teacher does, but rather on what the student does.”

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Learning Through Discussion

  • “Expressing … ideas and getting reactions from other students and the teacher makes a big difference in learning, retention, and use of knowledge.”

  • “[People should] realize that it is easy to deceive themselves about their own [ideas] … and that verbalizing an idea is one way of getting checks on and extensions of it.”

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Learning Through Reading

  • Despite what some professors might think, “students often learn more efficiently from reading than from listening.”

  • “Ample evidence [shows] that students benefit from specific instruction in

    • selecting main ideas,

    • asking themselves questions,

    • looking for organizational cues, and

    • attempting to summarize or explain what they have read.”

  • Focused reading

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Learning Through Writing

  • Low-stakes and high-stakes writing

    • Low-stakes: exploratory, revised often, feedback received without final judgment

    • High-stakes: final judgment (term paper or final essay exam)

  • “Low-stakes writing … helps students explore and figure out new ideas, connect personally with them using their own language, become more active learners, and become fluent and comfortable in writing before they have to write the high-stakes essays that determine their course grade.”

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Peer Learning

  • “Students often learn more from interacting with other students than from listening to [professors]”

  • “One of the best methods of gaining clearer, long-lasting understanding is explaining to someone else.”

  • “Knowing that your [classmates] are depending on you increases the likelihood of your doing your work.”

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Active Learning

  • “Learning to think requires … communicating … talking, writing, or doing, so that others can react to it.”

  • “Along with thinking skills, students need to develop habits of reflectionof thinking about their experience, their successes and failures, their plans and purposes, their choices, and their consequences.”

  • A hierarchy of thinking skills

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Learning to Learn

  • “In today’s rapidly changing world, the ability to acquire or use knowledge and skills is more important than compiling a static knowledge base.”

  • “Our task is to provide edible fish (content knowledge), but our task is also to teach our students how to fish (learning how to become strategic learners).”

  • Strategic learners:

    • Diligently pursue learning goals;

    • Know that learning is largely under their own control;

    • Know when they do and do not understand;

    • Know how to get help from learning material and from other people.

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Some Final Thoughts onLearning-Focused Teaching

  • “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” (Plutarch)

  • “The great thing about teaching is that there is always more to learn.”