Meghan Kidd and Samantha Pawluczyk
08 November 2019
Teaching Without Teaching
In Walker Percy’s, “The Loss of the Creature”, he explains how the most effective way of learning is through the process of indirect learning. This means students are able to grasp the concept of a topic when it is brought to their attention in other ways than having to sit in a class and being lectured at by a professor. If a professor wants their students to truly learn a subject, they will create different ways of challenging his or her students into learning the topic inside and out. For example, microeconomics 112 is a three day class per week and consists of a teacher lecturing to the students for a fifty minute period. What if the agenda of the course changed: Mondays would be a lecturing day, Wednesdays would be an open discussion group with prompts created by the students themselves, and Fridays would be dedicated to fieldwork outside of the classroom. Requiring students to teach others and lead classes, partake in fieldwork once a week to give them real experience, and have a group discussion in the classroom weekly are all ways to get the students to learn without being taught.
The main goal of each professor is to get their students to fully understand their topic for the specific class in which they are taking. For example, a microeconomics professor works hard to break down economics in numerous ways to try to successfully have the students wrap their heads around how a business runs efficiently. One way of indirectly teaching his or her students, the economics professor could design a mandatory project where students are required to teach at least three other students about their major. By doing this, it forces the student to learn the topic more because they will need to be able to break it down and explain it. With this assignment, students will work to ensure they know the subject inside and out because they will have to teach it to students who do not take an economics class at all. However, this will not educate the other students who are not taking economics, rather the idea of this project is to teach the economic students without having to sit in a class and listen to their professor lecture at them day after day.
Aside from teaching students who do not take economics, another method teachers could use to get his or her student engaged in class is to have student-led classes. In order to be most efficient, it is recommended by the professor to work in groups of three or four. As students work in groups, this allows them to bounce ideas off one another which helps to indirectly teach each other. This course will be held three times a week and with that, there will be allotted time for each student group to lead a lesson at the beginning of each class. The groups will be in a rotation so each class has a new group presenting a lesson for about 20-25 minutes. This amount of time gives the students the ability to teach their lesson but enough time for the professor to give a revised lesson to the class. In Percy’s article he explains, “If we look into the ways in which the student can recover the dogfish (or the sonnet), we will see that they have in common the stratagem of avoiding the educator’s direct presentation of the object as a lesson to be learned and restoring access to sonnet and dogfish as beings to be known, reasserting the sovereignty of knower over known.” Here, Percy explains the idea of sovereignty and how it is the surrender of power to the experts. This connects to this idea of student-led lessons because the professor is surrendering his position in order to give that same power to his or her students.
Each week the students gather in a classroom on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the early morning hours at 8:00am to learn about their intended course, microeconomics 112. However, the question is, how much information are the students really absorbing during that time? This class is fifty minutes in length and consists of a group of thirty students that have grown tired due to the fact of an early morning class and a professor that lectures to them the whole time without holding any type of conversation. Therefore, every Friday class should be dedicated as a fieldwork day. If the students are given one day each week to have hands on learning in economics, they might be able to learn more because of the interactions they will be having. For example, in the beginning of the year the professor will make each student pick a local businesses in town to study how the store measures their supply and demand and other factors that keep the company in business. Additionally, they will be able to talk to the workers at the store and ask for advice about their future and their potential career in economics. In addition, the students will have to get a weekly form signed stating that they were present for an hour at the business of their choice to ensure that they were of attendance.
Furthermore, one last method that would indirectly teach students more about their subject would be to have weekly discussions between the students. The most effective way of holding these discussions would be to have a standard lecture on Monday, followed by the group discussions on Wednesday. The professor would give a certain amount of information on Monday and students would be required to come up with at least three questions regarding the lecture. This would help to get the students more involved in the lectures rather than going to class and zoning out. Students would have to submit their questions on D2L so when they arrived at class, they would be ready to go through the list of questions and converse. The benefits of this method of learning is to have students answer other students questions and teach one another. The professor would sit in on this discussion and chime in if there were any major questions to avoid getting off track. This is an effective way of learning because it is a form of teamwork which helps each student get a better understanding of the class.
Learning effectively in the classroom is sometimes hard due to some students just sitting at their desks inattentive and unfocused, while their professor is in the front of the room throwing words around that come natural to him or her, but are unknown to the students. However if the students are required to teach others and lead classes, partake in fieldwork once a week to give them real experience, and have an open group discussions so that they have the ability to actually learn the subject. By changing the layout of the class schedule, students are being given the best possible foundation to succeed. Students are the future and should be given the best possible teaching methods to prepare them for their upcoming careers.
Meghan Kidd and Samantha Pawluczyk