Why Should I Consider Changing My Teaching Approach?

Sometime ago, I commented on Diana Oblinger’s presentation at the 2005 UMW Faculty Academy. It was that presentation that introduced me to the book Educating the Net Generation, which Chapter 5 I blogged about here.

I have continued to read the book, as time permits, and I want to take this opportunity to recommend Chapter 2 to anyone interested in the question posed by my title above: “Why Should I Consider Changing My Teaching Approach?” After all, we are good at what we do, and our current approach has worked well, right?

Diana and James Oblinger point out:

It is easy to assume that we understand our students, but there is often a difference in perspective between the Net Generation and faculty/administrators. As a result, it is important that colleges and universities ask the right questions and not simply assume that the current student cohort is like we were.

[emphasis added]

In short, the answer to my question is, because the students have changed. Let me be clear: I am not arguing for watering down your courses or even changing the content. Rather, I’m suggesting that there may be a better way to deliver that content.

It may be that your current teaching approach works, at least for the students that are like us. But if you want to reach the majority of your students, efficiently and effectively, you may want to at least consider changing your approach. Indeed, this was one of the motivations for my experiment.

But don’t take my word for it–read Chapter 2 and then decide for yourself.

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3 Responses to Why Should I Consider Changing My Teaching Approach?

  1. Jerry Slezak says:

    The more I hear of a focus on teaching the “Net Generation,” the more I start to wonder if that is possible. After all, the “traditional” college student is changing – maybe not all that much at UMW (at least not yet), but elsewhere significant numbers of college students run well outside what is considered “traditional students” – the area where the Net Gens currently fall. How can anyone afford to focus on any one group when developing their teaching strategies? What about the non-net gen student?
    What I think this all comes back to is that no one strategy for teaching is best – there are lots of different ways to teach and different ways to learn. A mix is good for everyone. It also allows some freedom to try new things without feeling like you have all your eggs in one basket.

  2. Steve says:

    Jerry:

    I don’t disagree with you, but let me point out one thing. If we have net geners and adult age students, we still have few or no students who were like we were in college. In short, the old ways of teaching probably aren’t the best way to reach the majority of our students anymore.

    – Steve

  3. Jerry Slezak says:

    Steve – I totally agree with you. What I think I was trying to say is that some old, some new might be a way to start making these changes in a way that is not a shock to the system of the instructor or student.

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