A brief collection of some important pieces of research on teaching and learning and how they influence my pedagogical practices.
This paper is a critical work in the conception of student evaluation of learning. It encourages us to reframe the work of courses to be focused on learning and not the disciplinary content and encourages the embedding of feedback mechanisms into course design.
A continuous improvement pedagogy means that I thrive on feedback and regularly incorporate curricular feedback in a way that allows the course to change direction as needed.
Brooke, S. L. (2006). Using the Case Method to Teach Online Classes: Promoting Socratic Dialogue and Critical Thinking Skills. International Society for Exploring Teaching and Learning, 18(2), 142-149. Retrieved 2020, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1068074
I am heavily influenced by Socratic pedagogical practices and this excellent article is a careful study of how to cultivate online cultures of learning through a modified form of Socratic dialogue in the case study modality. What is especially good about this article is its design distinction between beginning and seasoned online learners and the need to design for them differently.
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.
This article introduces the importance of active learning pedagogies grounding in projects and experiential opportunities and compares it to didactic instructional models. This research is well supported and while it focuses on STEM applications has applications to all subject areas.
As part of my course design I regularly incorporate role plays, experiments, and mini-inquiry projects that incorporate active learning.
This is one of the most comprehensive articles on Socratic dialogue I have found. There is a clarity of defining what is and is not Socratic dialogue and a very good literature review. Additionally, the authors give thorough examples of a robust Socratic dialogue. Between this paper and the text “The Habit of Thought,” by Michael Strong, one can get a very good sense of how I design most of my seminar courses.
This was one of the landmark studies on the positive effects of Montessori pedagogical principles on learning outcomes. While most of my work has been with late adolescents and adult learners, I am, and forever will be a Montessorian, with a deep respect for the individual learner, a keen understanding of the preparation of a physical and mental environment for learning, and an interest in learning that is engaging and inviting, based on choice and enthusiasm, rather than coercion.
Meyer, J. H., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher education, 49(3), 373-388.
This was one of the most transformative papers in my graduate works. The idea of designing around threshold concepts in a field of study fundamentally changed the way I think about and design courses. By analyzing the content of a course and identifying the threshold concepts the curriculum becomes more clear to both the designer and the learner. It is a truly fundamental concept in my pedagogy.
This was one of the first papers I read in my graduate studies and it was a powerful introduction to the research on how the psychosocial condition of a sense of belonging has long term effects on learning outcomes.
I have always been interested in what is now termed social-emotional learning and I am very sensitive to the social and emotional needs of my students while still maintaining and encouraging rigorous academic achievement in their field. The belonging research encouraged me to do even more community development at the “forming stage” of the group development in order to clearly invite a sense of belonging.
“Communities of practice develop around things that matter to people. As a result, their practices reflect the members’ own understanding of what is important.” (p. 2)
Social Constructivism has seemed to best match my understanding of learning (Man is a social animal!), and as such, I am very interested in the social environment in which learning takes place. What I appreciate about this article is the identification of not only the qualities necessary for the formation of the community but a clear enunciation of the stages of development that the community evolves through. What I take to my pedagogy from this research is the need for clarity in roles and leadership within the community as part of the proper preparation that will lead to successful group development.
Innovation and creativity are a social activity that is either supported or diminished within formal learning contexts. This paper helps to elucidate the qualities of the community that make that so.
If we want to cultivate innovation and curiosity we much know what to do to support the community in which the individual is developing.
The truth remains that, after adolescence has begun, “words, words, words,” must constitute a large part, and an always larger part as life advances, of what the human being has to learn.William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals (1911)