My goal in PO 263, which is the introductory course on Canadian political institutions, is to add one new active learning unit every year I teach it. Last year, I introduced a flipped classroom activity on the Supreme Court of Canada, which I've blogged about previously and will be using again in two weeks.
So reads the title of a new book I just finished reading. It was written by two psychology professors and a novelist. In essence, it draws upon the empirical literature (mostly experimentally-based studies) on learning to describe how we learn and how instructors/trainers can best facilitate effective learning.
So what are the key messages? There are three main ones:
Recently, there's been a lot of buzz around active learning and the flipped classroom and the push is on at the university level (and at the high school/elementary levels) for reforming how we teach. At the same time, it seems like there are a vast number of alternative pedagogical tools from which to choose and different institutions are grappling with what to adopt (as well, much like other policy areas, it seems like these reform pushes go through phase
In the fall, I'm teaching PO 263: Politics and Government in Canada, enrollment of 125. In the past, I've always taught this second year course using the traditional three hour lecture model.
This year, however, I'm reforming the course dramatically, not only in terms of content and assignments, but also in terms of what is going to happen in the classroom.
Step 1 was to establish some learning objectives: what are the big things I want my students to learn by the end of the course? Here are three big themes: