Active Learning Panel Reflection

.@Rangerdavie, @crmcardle, Cho Weebadde and Danielle DeVoss share their love of teaching and the importance of education. #ITeachMSU

I love educators.

I was thinking the other day about how every person in my life who has had a meaningful impact is an educator in some capacity.

Does that mean each of these people are certified teachers who work in an educative profession? Not at all.

Similarly, as in any occupation, there are certainly teachers in the profession who I would argue are not educators in terms of what Parker Palmer defines as vocation (200#). These are not the people I’m talking about. I could spend my time ranting and raving about the ills and the challenges faced in education, but frankly, I find that to be both depressing and unproductive.

Rather, I like focusing my energy on the people who have looked at the profession with all its challenges, the low pay, the long hours, the misunderstandings, the resistance to the work, the lack of recognition, the ever-growing animosity from private interests against education as a public good, and still see people on the other side who need a learning coach to be successful in life. Despite all the obstacles, they still pursue the work of being a caring educator to people, because they know how essential this is for a thriving society.

So, what was the topic of this blog post again? Oh, right, active learning.

On Friday, October 13th, I had an amazing opportunity to talk to four amazing educators at Michigan State University who have grown over the years in their pedagogical practices to be, let’s say, more student-centered. I’ve seen first hand accounts of the kinds of life and energy they cultivate in their classrooms around the learning that is happening. It was quite a joy to have them sit together at a table in front of peers and get to ask them questions about their teaching practices.

Thank you Kirstin, Casey, Cho & Danielle for the amazing work you do with hundreds if not thousands of students here at MSU. Thank you for giving us a brief peek into your classrooms through the conversation. I hope we can do it again sometime soon, especially since I only make it through a small percentage of the questions prepared. Your responses to my questions and to those raised by those in attendance were insightful and compelling. You touched on themes such as starting with the why, providing space for critical reflection, designing authentic assessment strategies that put the ownership of the learning into the laps of the learner, the increased value of lecture content when in the chunked context of a more active learning environment, and many more. I could have stayed there all weekend with you learning from your experiences and wisdom.

You can watch and listen to it here on the MediaSpace archive video. I apologize about the angle of the video as we missed Kirstin in the frame. We’ll get that fixed next time.

Speaking of which, I’m ecstatic about the upcoming sessions yet this Fall, 2017 semester. Hope to see you there in person to learn more as we explore innovative approaches to using educational technology on behalf of student success. In fact, there is one today on the topic of making your course content well organized and accessible to all! Hope to see you here in the Hub

Author: Dave

LX Designer, entrepreneur & change agent. Immersed in collaborations that improve learning & working environments. Sometimes, I go fishing.

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