Thursday, December 15, 2011
Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH)
Almost 20 years ago, Harvard physicist Eric Mazur had an âahaâ moment about his teaching practice that forced him to rethink the traditional unidirectional teaching model. He described his early approach to courses as ânot how you teach it, but what you cover. [Then] I realized education was not merely a transfer of information. It was about how well students could assimilate information and transfer it to their own experience.â So Dr. Mazur radically changed his approach. He developed a strategy that incorporates âjust-in-timeâ teaching with short lectures punctuated by conceptual questions posed to the students, using classroom response technology. Dr. Mazur asks his students to think about and respond to these questions, and to attempt to convince each other of their positions. This is the basis of what he calls the Peer Instruction method, which engages students, provides continuous assessment and feedback, and allows students to learn from each other.