Presentations

    Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?, at Physics Colloquium, Georgetown University (Washington, DC), Thursday, April 11, 1996
    Signs that introductory physics courses can lead to frustration (both for students and faculty) abound. A major problem is that traditional lectures in introductory science frequently fail to stimulate students to further study. Many, if not most, students concentrate on problem-solving without paying sufficient attention to the underlying concepts. Physics is then reduced to a set of recipes, or 'problem-solving strategies' as they are called in textbooks. The remaining, purely mechanical material is uninteresting and the apparent lack of any underlying consistency or logic leads to... Read more about Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?
    Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?, at Physics Colloquium, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Monday, February 9, 1998
    Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing... Read more about Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?

Pages