Many of the texts reviewed here have an ecological theme which
is hardly surprising. However there are a number which focus
on the second part of the work for which this website was formed
- teaching and learning. With teaching in all arenas getting
globally more attention (and increasing formal direction) it
is useful to see what information can be gleaned. This book
started life at a meeting of the Ecological Society of America
where College teachers were reflecting on their work. What follows
is aimed at the higher education sector of the USA but there
are parallels elsewhere.
chapter looks at an element of teaching. We open with a look
at the very first day and some of the administrative tasks that
need to be completed and how students view their class. Chapter
two explores the idea of creating a learning structure. It does
this not so much by providing a flow chart but by actually providing
a handout and lesson plan (called an instructional guide here).
In other words, the idea of teaching is bound up in what is
taught. The student educator gets the whole package to use and
reflect upon. Chapter three discusses strategies you can use
with large groups of students. The focus is on 'doing science'
but this means finding meaningful activities within lecture
room/classroom settings. Again, there is a group of readings
alongside ideas for assessment, in this case, of group dynamics.
The next stage is getting students to both read and understand
before the lesson or lecture. Two strategies are explored -
the use of collaborative group learning by creating individual
'experts' and the use of modelling to help understanding. Chapter
five turns to the question of assessment. Although it is vital
to measure progress it is also time consuming and can be tedious.
It follows that it needs to be effective for the student and
cost-effective for the teacher. Three examples are given highlighting
different aspects of assessment: using innovative assignments,
peer assessment and problem solving. Another element that will
resonate with teachers is getting homework done for class. Since
one of the foci for this book is student-centred learning it
is no surprise to see this as a key way forward. Three examples
are provided which show how, by using outcome rubrics, students
can engage with the homework and come to class better prepared.
A final chapter describes how staff can use case studies to
see how learning is proceeding.
this is a very interesting text. It takes common teaching problems
and makes some interesting observations. The fact that the teaching
mode and examples are heavily US-centric does not detract from
the central, universal messages it is aiming to impart. Those
engaged in teacher education of who are starting teaching from
a research perspective would do well to read this text and take
its central messages on board.