Tuesday, January 07, 2003

I haven't tried this out with students before, and I don't even really know how to go through with it, but this year I am going to spend time making the students think about their own learning curve. Adrian mentioned a method he used, but I don't think I can just adopt his approach. I have to find a way to approach this within the context of this college.

What I want to do is have the students put into words what they expect they will be able to learn, on the base of the syllabus for the semester. I'll make them write this on a piece of paper, and hand it over to me. Then in 6-8 weeks, when the "quality-reform" insists that I have a meeting with the students to discuss their plans for their education, I will pull out this little paper and ask them how they find themselves in relation to their original expectations. Third time - I like the number three, it tastes of magic and is nicely fulfilling - I discuss this with them will be at the very end of the term. I haven't made up my mind yet though if I want that to be in public: all the class, and the students discussing each other's work, or one-on-one. Or a combination: let them do the same as the first time, only this time assessing what they have actually done, not what they will do.

My goal is to make the students aware that while I can teach, they have to learn! Learning is not a passive experience, and as long as they don't take responsibility for their end of it, I can be the most brilliant teacher in the world, it won't help! Me just being your average lazy college-professor, they have a lot of work to do...

Adrian also lets the students assess each other's work. At first I thought that would be impossible, but after some thinking I realised that we have been doing that for years. All practical assignments are assessed like that, as well as at least one presentation of literature each semester. I didn't even think of this as he was speaking, because it's just one of those things we make the students do in order to teach them how to give and take criticism in their future jobs as journalists or information professionals. I won't do anything about that, except ponder how we can make better use of the student intra-net to do that. We will use this net to publish little articles this semester: to let the other students see and criticise the work of their peers, perhaps I can expand on this in other contexts... It needs some thought though.

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