Too much content, not enough thinking, and too little fun!
Posted by Dean Holden at June 16th, 2013
Adv Physiol Educ. 2009 Dec;33(4):257-64
Teachers often overrate the importance of their content and underrate their influence. However, students forget much of the content that they memorize. Thus, attempts to teach students all that they will need to know is futile. Rather, it is important that students develop an interest and love for lifelong learning. Inspiring and motivating students is critical because unless students are inspired and motivated our efforts are pointless. Once students are inspired and motivated, there are countless resources available to learn more about a subject. Thus, teachers must abandon the mistaken notion that unless they “cover the content” students will be unprepared for the future and they will have failed as teachers. Teachers must not worry about “losing” or “wasting” valuable lecture time for in-class discussion, collaborative problem-solving, and inquiry-based activities that take time away from covering content. Rather than worrying about covering content, teachers must design activities to focus student learning on how to use scientific knowledge to solve important questions. This is important because learning is not committing a set of facts to memory but the ability to use resources to find, evaluate, and use information. In fact, memorizing anything discourages deep thinking. Deep thinking is essential because understanding is the residue of thinking! To encourage thinking we must create a joy, an excitement, and a love for learning. We must make learning fun; because if we are successful, our students will be impatient to run home, study, and contemplate-to really learn.
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