Thursday, October 21, 2004

Stayed behind with the rest of the tutors taking year 1 classes next year for a sharing workshop on critical thinking and reasoning, an approach all subjects are supposed to be using to teach the college's 2005 batch. Doesn't sound like there's anything new to this idea, but perhaps today's course just showed that it can be formalized and structured such that it doesn't have to be an ad hoc, haphazard application but an actual discipline and technique for teaching.

Can't find an accurate link but here's a gist of what today's session hoped to convince us:
  • "All subjects have a logic to them. Each is a system of meanings that enables us to reason effectively. Yet, most students try to learn not by reason, but by rote memorization. They blindly memorize someone else’s answers. Even when they do well on tests, it isn’t because they truly understand. True understanding requires disciplined reasoning.... Dr. Richard Paul focuses on how to break out of the didactic mode, [moving] into a new paradigm for instruction that explicitly fosters reasoned learning; learning that accesses the inner logic of all substantive inquiry. [Paul] offers a penetrating, in-depth look at ways to cultivate intellectually powerful minds... to help you put reason, accountability, and power back into teaching and learning."
(quoted from the blurb on Paul's How to Teach video series)

Actually, there's really nothing new in the content. We covered material that was basic common-sense thinking strategies that we use instinctively, although we, in our own time never actually sat through a course specific to such training. We sort of picked the skill up as we went as part of our maturing(?) process. Kids these days, I guess, are expected to grow up much faster. Still, such an approach could mean more interesting tutorials for both students and tutor, assuming both agree to play the same game. That, I think, is the hardest part.

The workshop went from 2-5pm. By then we were so bombed out we proceeded to Rosyth Road for prata, beef steak goreng (for me), and kopiccino ice, and some totally non-intellectual discussion. Next year's problems can take care of themselves next year.

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