December 6th, 2019
Changes at West Chester University
The immense struggle to focus in non-interactive classes is excruciating for most students throughout college. Sitting through an hour-long class of a professor talking loses the attention of many students, and as a result, reflects on their grades in that class. It is not only a waste of time for the students, but also for the professors as they spend days of their time preparing a lecture that many loose accounts for and have trouble keeping up with. My program proposition to solve this very common issue is for West Chester University to enforce more interactive classes, as well as introduce the reverse classroom method to many classrooms across campus. By introducing this new method, I believe it will be solving a large issue of staying focused in non-interactive classes. West Chester University will have high benefit as a result of this new program, as will the students who are actively apart of the school’s academic environment. By making these changes, West Chester University would also be catering to the educational theories of Percy and Freire by supporting their thoughts that students should have more control over their education and gain skills that may have been overlooked in a specified major.
The new interactive program would include many components that would ultimately lead to the academic gain of the student, and the convenience of professors. Firstly, I propose that students be required to spend a certain amount of hours per semester doing out of class experiences related to their majors such as internships, shadows, and extended programs. For example, a nursing major may volunteer at a local hospital alongside professional nurses. The students would need to write reflections after each experience, and at the end of the semester, write an essay on how those experiences have aided to their major. Throughout these tasks, professors should remain active with students and would be required to meet with students a certain amount of times throughout the semester to discuss progress and personal questions the student may have. I believe that in doing this, students will be able to ask questions they may have been afraid to ask in classes and also would allow professors to gain a greater understanding for the student’s progress as well as use this observation to see what may need to be changed in class. It will also allow students who may have trouble paying attention during lectures to engage in discussions throughout class. In addition to these changes, the reverse classroom method would be inducted into many classrooms around West Chester University. This involves the professor giving a certain topic or reading for students to dissect and learn during their own time, then would come into class and have an open discussion with the students about said topic. By doing this, students with different learning styles would be able to teach themselves in a way that caters to their own needs, as well as allowing them to spend as much time on a section as they need. This new change would also benefit the university credentials as a whole, since this method would be allowing more students to retain information and understand more than before and therefore reflecting on their grades. With these new changes, I am almost certain that the direct outcome will be rewarding and make learning more enjoyable for both students and professors across West Chester University’s campus
One great result from implementing interactive learning environments at WCU is that students with different learning styles will be able to learn in ways that are beneficial to themselves. Research proves that student’s individual learning styles are all unique to themselves and that person. With the reverse classroom aspect of the new learning program at West Chester University, students will be able to teach themselves topics and later discuss them in class, allowing each individual student to use methods that specifically cater to their learning needs. This immensely benefits the student, as they are retaining the material in class through a method that directly benefits their learning style. Freire’s ideas of students falling into the routine of academics is supported, as he states, “Narration (with the teacher as the narrator) leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse yet, it turns them into ‘containers,’ into ‘receptacles’ to be ‘filled’ by the teacher” (Freire, pg.1). I believe this interprets to a lecture style class being repetitive and constantly having teachers at the head of the class, and this is something I am proposing we change.
With this new learning program, students will also benefit from keeping active in discussions in class. The interactive aspects of the class will allow for students to take charge and stay active by vocalizing thoughts and experiences in class while also being able to have the required hours of activities beneficial to their major. This solves a common issue of students getting distracted or having trouble paying attention in lecture style classes. Freire explains the typical roles of students and professors in a true concept, stating “A. The teacher teaches, and the students are taught. B. The teacher knows everything, and the student knows nothing” (Freire, Pg.2). Freire seems to suggest that professors are constantly put in the role of high power and students are never in control. With this change, the student has the ability to take charge.
Not only will this program benefit the students, but it will also benefit the professors. With the required meetings with students throughout the semester, I believe that the professors will be able to gain a greater knowledge as to how much students are understanding the topics and ultimately result in professors knowing what needs to be improved as a whole class as well as individual students. Freire expresses his thoughts on how teachers perceive knowledge in a classroom in an incorrect manor, saying “The teacher confuses the authority of knowledge, with his or her own professional authority, which she and he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students” (Freire, pg.2). With this quote, Freire is acknowledging the common mindset of professors having authority over knowledge, and I believe with the required meetings, professors have the chance to allow students to give them insight on how classes need to improve.
This program would be positively affecting West Chester University’s credentials and reputation as a whole. With all of the changes being made, students will be able to retain more knowledge from classes than the previous methods, therefore leading to better grades on tests and essays. The university as a whole would be benefitting if a higher percentage of students had higher grades. As Freire states in his explains in his writings about the resolution of student
Teacher standards, “To resolve the student-teacher contradiction, to exchange the role of depositor, prescriber, domesticator, for the role of student among students would be to undermine the power of oppression and serve the cause of liberation” (Freire, pg. 4). In this statement, I believe Freire is stating that if these common behaviors in the classrooms are resolved, it will ultimately benefit the educational community as a whole cause.
The Interactive and reverse classroom learning program proposition for West Chester University undoubtedly has an immense amount of benefits for students, teachers, and as an overall community. With benefits that include allowing students to teach themselves in ways beneficial to themselves, keeping active during and outside of class, allowing professors to gain knowledge on student’s needs, and overall raising the university’s credentials, this program would prove to be a much-needed change for our community, as well as support Percy and Freire’s ideas on education.