Chem Connections

Teaching and Learning Philosophy and Strategies

  1. The nature of the learning process

    Students gain knowledge and understanding in a social setting. They interact with peers and instructors through a process of negotiation. They interact with the broader intellectual community through thoughtful reading of texts and journals. Each student starts from an initial base of knowledge and experience. All students work from this point to build a more meaningful understanding of the subject matter and to enhance their ability to ask questions and find answers. They must learn how to deal with new situations with tough problems and unknown answers.

  2. The steps students must take in the learning process

    • Articulate initial knowledge

    • Add to what is already known to refine and enrich it with the student's own efforts

    • Articulate and correct misconceptions

    • Make connections between concepts

    • Understand the viewpoints of others

    • Realize the limitations of their own ideas

    • Create and test new ideas

    • Be concerned with mental processes as well as the "answer"

    • Reflect on the way their conceptions are changing

    • Ask questions (what if..?)

    • Develop the ability to be imaginative and creative

  3. The ideal learning environment

    • Initial activities are accessible to everyone and come from common experiences

    • The environment is both accepting and critical

    • Students are made to feel free to propose their own ideas without premature judgment

    • Students learn to support their ideas while interacting with peers and instructors

    • Conversations take place in which all students feel they can contribute

    • Ideas are illustrated and student interest engaged through demonstrations and experiments

    • An environment is created that fosters self motivation among the students

    • A variety of types of learning activities are used to meet the wide range of student needs

    • Students must develop a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction

  4. Responsibilities of teachers

    • Help students learn the language of the discipline

    • Explain goals and methods

    • Validate knowledge brought by each student

    • Create interest and generate curiosity

    • Encourage students to work hard

    • Communicate standards of judgment

    • Help students learn how to use language precisely

    • Wean students from dependence on instructors

    • Act as a resource without directly answering every question

    • Provide time to puzzle, wonder, and struggle

    • Don't judge prematurely

    • Provide fair criticism

    • Encourage collaboration

    • Be an active listener and learner

    • Encourage students to work in new situations

    • Question students so they realize the process of seeking explanations is critically important

  5. Responsibilities of students

    • Make use of initial knowledge

    • Think freely

    • Engage in an active social process of testing and clarifying their understanding

    • Develop the ability to work effectively and intensely

    • Avoid premature judgment of themselves or others

    • Ask questions

    • Carefully consider the ideas of others

    • Learn to think independently and take responsibility for their own actions

    • Value others as useful colleagues

    • Evaluate their own progress in an objective manner

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Last modified: 10/5/00 at 2:01 PM