Our Physics professor stood in front of the room the first day, and asked the class, "Do you have any questions for me?"
He allowed students who took his other class to answer. We were quite relieved with their responses.
He then proceeded with Newton's law. He wrote all laws on the board (we were in the laboratory) and told us what his requirements were: 7 write-ups; we were to answer the questions: What did you do; What did you learn; How did you learn it. Quite simple.
The first activity was an experiment. He allowed us to play with the spark generator machine and discover for ourselves and as a group insights from it.
Then we were given a test - Force Concept Inventory. Out of 30 questions, I got 10 correct! Thanks to the first experiment I was able to answer questions related to it with ease! Lol!
He then went through all the questions one by one and gave us the answer to all 30 questions. I was OK with it, I just needed to digest it and I could very well memorize the concepts.
The surprise was, after that day, he reinforced all the concepts using different styles of learning!!! (visual, auditory, tactile/kinesthetic)
|while walking to NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory - HQ)|
He allowed us to rediscover, rediscover until we can discover!
He allowed the spark of understanding to come to us. He facilitated the experiments, answered questions from all spectrum and just became a catalyst for us to learn it.
|during our field trip at the VLA (Very Large Array)|
My, my, my! As a student once more, I just had to relate to my students with special needs (especially) and how they could be feeling when concepts were forced on them, and the teacher was just doing it one way- his/her way! Sad!
Our professor (he's got a Doctorate Degree in Astrophysics; he has published a "Big Science" through the years) didn't like classroom set-up! We were most of the time in the field, collaborating, questioning, learning!
|while he was answering questions, I was having my photo taken, lol!|
I'd ask questions, my classmates would ask questions.. and he'd answer with "C'mon, let us try it... Let's do it.. Here's the gadget, let's see what the results are..."
He was never demanding, controlling and "I-know-it-all", rather, he was giving, open and encouraging!
The sparks of understanding came, not through memorization, lecture, book reading, worksheets but the overall experience - experimentation, field trips, technology, question and answer, collaboration, observation - the whole nine yards! plus our professor's willingness to just bring learning out from within (educare and educere)!
......and it made all the difference!
Post test: 30 out of 30.