Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dissecting the Classroom

Several researchers in British Columbia and Virginia are attempting to move beyond the tradition of relying on largely anecdotal evidence to assess teaching. Instead, they are developing observational rubrics designed to generate data about techniques that work and to attend to subtle disciplinary differences in classroom management. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, ʺscholars are beginning to fan out through campuses to study the subtle dynamics of the classroom. Some are doing so for scholarly reasons, hoping that they can distill teaching to its essential parts and identify which methods produce specific types of learning. Others...seek to gather data that paint a picture of an individual professor’s practices, which can be compared with the norms of a discipline or type of course and then be used to improve his or her teaching.ʺ Not everyone appreciates or welcomes these new efforts, but supporters say they offer an opportunity to get a far clearer and more detailed picture of what actually goes on in classrooms.

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