Are the changes we make to our teaching lasting ones?

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This morning the Chronicle of Higher Education has a provocative article:   

Physicists Eagerly Try New Teaching Methods but Often Drop Them, Study Finds

Check it out:


Based on your own teaching experience, why do you think this is?

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I wonder if one reason is support after an instructor decides to adopt new teaching methods? It can be pretty lonely doing new things in the classroom, particularly if students don't like the changes. At least in my case (I adopted "Team-Based Learning" in my small classes a few years ago), the TBL listerv was a godsend.

The article and Bill's comment remind me of two things. First, that sometimes we are not good at teaching outside our comfort zone. Like most humans, we need to practice new things in order to improve. I think too many faculty opt out in the face of student resistance (as Bill suggests) or because the new technique doesn't feel as comfortable as lecture (or whatever technique is most familiar).

One thing that a community or a listserv can do is help us realize that we are not alone in our discomfort or our awkward first tries. The community is also useful for finding adaptations that work with our teaching personalities. Colleagues, whether other faculty or teaching center consultants, can help us figure out how to tilt the "flip" or the activity in ways that work better for us.

Bill also brings up another critical area where new teaching strategies can be particularly challenging--when students complain. Never forget that many of our best students excelled in a lecture format, so when we change the "rules" they may also feel out of sorts.

See the following link for 5 recommendations for success:

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