Engaging learning through student-centered methods
If there is one thing research has shown us about teaching, it’s that students are not always aware of how they learn best. This is evident in memory studies, where students continue to use less-than-optimal strategies in studying (Karpicke, 2016). Similarly, it is seen in classroom activities in which students rate lecture-based learning as the most efficient method of teaching despite discussion-lead and relationship-building teaching styles showing higher scores on retention tests (Reber, Downs, & Nelson, 2017).
Yet, a recent survey found that 55% of classrooms still used a ‘conventional lecture’ model (Jaschik, 2018), with only 18% of classrooms emphasizing student-centered styles with heavy group work and discussions. One model of these student-centered styles is the flipped classroom. A flipped classroom introduces students to the course material prior to class and, within the classroom, expands and develops their understanding of the material through discussion, activities, and project-based assessments with continued feedback from the instructor. Course materials are often distributed through unconventional methods, such as short 20-minute video lectures, directed readings, podcasts, TED talks, and more. Courses using the flipped classroom model have shown measurable improvements in a variety of settings, including Introductory Physics (DesLauriers, Schelew & Wieman 2011) and Introductory Psychology (Roehling, Root Luna, Richie, & Shaughnessy, 2017).
Of course, using a flipped classroom method of teaching might be beyond your control as a graduate employee. However, there are numerous ways to incorporate interaction within your class. Here are a few!
If you have had some experience in using interactive methods, we at the SPSSI Graduate Student Committee would love to hear from you! Our Methodology Webinar is looking for graduate students who would like to present on novel methods of teaching that worked best for them in their classrooms. Please contact Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in contributing.
Desauliers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment science classroom. Science, 332(6031), 862-864.
Jaschik, S. (2018, April 2). Lecture instruction: Alive and not so well. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/04/02/study-finds-lecture-remains-dominant-form-teaching-stem
Karpicke, J. D. (2016). A powerful way to improve learning and memory. Psychological Science Agenda. https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2016/06/learning-memory.aspx
Li, S. & Demaree, D. (2010). Promoting and studying deep-level discourse during large-lecture introductory physics. AIP Conference Proceedings, 1289, 25–28.
Reber, J. S., Downs, S. D., & Nelson, J. A.P. (2017). Effects of three pedagogies on learning outcomes in a psychology of gender lecture: A quasi-experimental study. Teaching of Psychology, 44(2), 134-144.
Roehling, P. V., Root Luna, L. M., Richie, F. J., & Shaughnessy, J. J. (2017). The benefits, drawbacks, and challenges of using the flipped classroom in an introduction to psychology course. Teaching of Psychology, 44(3), 183-192.