Maryellen Weimer on Teaching that Promotes Learning

Maryellen Weimer gave a presentation at UMW today based on her book, Learning-Centered Teaching.

Her thesis: In order for teaching to more effectively promote learning, instructional practice needs to change in five areas:

1. The Role of the Teacher.

Instruction should focus on student learning, rather than teacher action. Student-Centered learning makes the classroom messy–a lot more like the practice of our disciplines.

2. The Balance of Power.

At present, faculty make virtually all the key learning decisions for students. “In ethically responsible ways, share decision-making about learning with students.” Ethical means vet the content but also assess the developmental level of students to know what freedom they can handle.

3. The Function of Content.

Content is necessary to build a knowledge base, but skills matter too. The question isn’t content vs skills, but rather how to integrate the content with the skills. E.g. Teach students how to summarize content. Students learn the content while learning the skills. The research shows that it’s not effective to teach skills divorced from content.

4. The Responsibility for Learning.

Faculty currently “force” learning on reluctant participants. We need to shift responsibility for learning to students. The primary goal of a teacher is to create a “climate for learning.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a faculty member to model the passion for learning.

5. The Processes and Purposes of Evaluation.

More regular assessment and more emphasis on formative assessment. Teach self-and peer assessment skills.

Weimer gave a very thoughtful talk. In the interests of getting this post done, I’ve summarized in snippets, but anything that strikes you as jargon should be a criticism of my summary, rather than her arguments. I highly recommend her.

Her views seem very consistent with my vision of U2.0 . I’m going to add the book to my reading list.

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2 Responses to Maryellen Weimer on Teaching that Promotes Learning

  1. Gardner says:

    Sounds like a great presentation. I’m truly sorry I wasn’t able to be there. Did teaching and learning technologies play any part in her talk (either in the content or in her delivery)?

  2. James says:

    Probably not the right space for this but thanks for blogging. It puts many ideas into my head and helps to clarify others…

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