I was recently talking to a neighbour who started at one of the Sydney universities this year. A bright and academically gifted young man who got a high ATAR and was tutoring kids in his spare time was deeply disappointed.
“You see”- he explained to me, and his eyes lit up.
“My high school teachers were very different. They didn’t just talk and talk at us. They got us to work on projects and discover the answers ourselves. We also worked a lot together with other students, and here at Uni, we don’t. I know it is on us to find study groups outside of the class, but with COVID and everything it’s not easy, so I just don’t learn as much…”
My neighbourA high achieving school student
What my neighbour was describing were not your typical 1st year student problems. Rather, it was a shock of someone who was used to learning in an ‘active learning’ environment and suddenly found himself in the ‘chalk and talk’ classroom.
It made me sad, as for this bright young man going to university was a ‘downgrade’ rather than an ‘upgrade’ of his learning experience. Granted, school teachers have smaller classes and more training in active learning and teaching methods – a luxury that few university teachers have. However, I wish that we sometimes thought about students like my neighbour whose learning spirit seems to be crushed by long and dull lectures. So, I am currently working on a self-access learning module on active learning approaches. It will cover some key beginner, intermediate and advanced active learning techniques. If you have any suggestions on what YOU’d like to see in the module, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org I would really love to hear from you.