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The idea of the “flipped classroom” — in which an instructor assigns students home reading or viewing and then works on it with them in the next class — is getting a lot of ink these days.
Here’s how (Harvard professor Eric Mazur) does it: Before each class, students are assigned reading in the textbook. Pretty standard for a lecture class, but if you talk to college students you’ll find that many of them don’t bother with the reading ahead of time. They come to class to figure out what information the professor thinks is important, then they go to the textbook to read up on what they didn’t understand.
“In my approach I’ve inverted that,” says Mazur.
He expects students to familiarize themselves with the information beforehand so that class time can be spent helping them understand what the information means.
Just as classroom teaching is being scrutinized, so has the traditional college lecture come under the gun.
For more on the high-school angle, check out these articles on MindShift, an edutech sister blog that is (like this blog) part NPR’s Argo network of specialty blogs.