Friday, July 25, 2014
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Nashua;55.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-07-25 04:58:24

Is 'sage on a stage' the best way to teach math and science in college?

For as long as I can remember, schools have been advocating ways of teaching other than lectures - hands-on, interactive, with models, computers, groups sessions, board games, whatever. I hated them all: I like lectures. The teacher knows stuff that I don't - just tell it to me and I'll learn it. If I need to discuss it with my peers or do drawings or whatever, I'll do it outside of class.

However, as the Washington Post notes, many colleges are beginning to think that a long, slow shift away from math/science classes is being worsened by a dependence on lectures. The story is here - a snippet:

Lecture classrooms are the big-box retailers of academia, paragons of efficiency. One professor can teach hundreds of students in a single room, trailed by a retinue of teaching assistants. But higher-education leaders increasingly blame the format for high attrition in science and math classes. They say the lecture is a turn-off, higher education at its most passive, leading to frustration and bad grades in highly challenging disciplines. ... The watchword of today is “active learning.”

Active learning - ugh. Just hand me the information and I'll make use of it.