From: RBECK@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 07:59:09 -0700 (MST) Subject: Re: Who Uses Group/Cooperative learning? In-Reply-To: <01HS4NB35C5EAOP3AK@mecn.mass.edu> To: TPANITZ@mecn.mass.edu Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Sun, 25 Jun 1995 TPANITZ@mecn.mass.edu wrote:
> I would like to initiate a discussion 0n the question "Why do so few
> teachers, grades 9-university use interactive learning techniques i.e. groups/
> cooperative/team learning?" >
I have wondered about this issue in a broader sense for a number of
years. The underlying question seems to be "Why do so few teachers,
especially university level, fail to base instruction on current
knowledge of learning theory and effective teaching methods?"
So, take the average professor who was never really taught how to teach
and believes that the adults he is "teaching" know how to learn and only
need information from him----will the articles on group/cooperative
learning even make sense?
I don't know. Just some thoughts. Comments?........
Rosemary Beck Technology Coordinator/Resource Math Teacher Holaway Elementary School Tucson AZ email@example.com -------------------End Forwarded Message------------------------
I am one of those "average profesor[s] who was never really taught how to teach". There are several reasons why we have behaved as you describe. In the first place, we are those for whom lecture worked, and worked well. It was very natural for us to presume that it would work for everyone else as it did for us. And, of course, the natural corollary was that those for whom lecture didn't seem to be working were the ones who were at fault--after all, lecture works!!!
You must also realize that not all of us are still young; we entered the profession when little was known about how people learn mathematics (I maintain that this is still true, but in those days of yore, *very* little was known!), and therefore we could not have been taught how to teach in the sense that contemporary teacher candidates can be. Many of us regard ourselves as mathematicians first and teachers second, so there is bound to be a lag between discovery in education and our assimilation thereof--the size of the lag in each individual case being inversely proportional to the importance the mathematician accords teaching duties. The lag will still be non-zero even for mathematicians who take their teaching very seriously, for mathematicians will still be more interested in mathematics in its own right--and it is right that there should be such people.
Finally, I believe that we are seeing what Thomas Kuhn, in "The Structure of Scientific Revolution", called a paradigm shift in the art of teaching. And as Kuhn pointed out, when a paradigm shifts, the old practices generally die out only as the old practitioners die out. Most of them are unable or unwilling to make the shift.