Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Journal 14 - Angela

*Journal: *Reflect on components of Burkhardt’s, Dewey’s or Montessori’s
teaching methods. How have the teaching strategies you have encountered been
effective or ineffective? How could they have been improved?

I realized, sitting in an American Lit class I was taking this time last year after getting our first essay back, how programmed I had been to take in what the professor tells you in lecture and say it right back to demonstrate your understanding of a particular concept.

Most of the teaching strategies I've encountered in the biology/chemistry/physics and sociology/American studies/ethnic studies classes I've taken have kind of centered on this idea, that there's a concept to understand and the goal is to learn and understand that concept. Not to say that I don't like this type of teaching strategy - I love when something finally clicks and you DO understand how (for instance) electromagnetic fields affect a sheet of metal. But in the American Lit course that I was taking, I realized that that idea was completely wrong and invalid in that class. The comments scribbled in red asked me for my own opinions and ideas/thoughts on the readings, not only what the professor lectured on. I felt really unsure putting forth my own ideas, since I wasn't sure if they would be "right", and it wasn't something I was used to. In many of the science courses I'm used to taking, there can be plenty of room for creativity - but only if you know very well what you're talking about and have solid and sufficient background knowledge. I didn't feel that I had this strong grasp on how to interpret American literature, which is why I felt so uncomfortable stating my own opinions and ideas. I think I realize now that as a whole, that class had relied on a different type of teaching strategy/pedagogy that was fundamentally different from the types I had become accustomed to, and the two clashed a little. Both are effective in their own ways, and I'm still trying to figure out to incorporate/improve both as I learn.

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