Journal Response on Teaching

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I used this quote to introduce a lesson on the different ways of learning to my undergraduate content methods class. I felt the words also spoke to both the essence of our assigned texts and my state of reflection. The readings increased my awareness of the variances of issues facing higher education and the viability of multiple solutions. I realized that it is much easier to shoot an idea down than it is to consider a novel solution. Ramsden’s (1992) use of the Whitehead (1992) statement, “I merely utter the warning that education is a difficult problem, to be solved by no one simple formula” leads me to believe that he holds a similar multi-approach disposition towards higher education issues.

In chapters six and seven, Ramsden (1992) examines the essential properties of effective instruction and the issues associated with incongruent teacher values and presuppositions. According to Ramsden, the primary problem is that too many professors fail to adopt a “compound view of instruction” (p.114). Ramsden contends that the difficulty in moving instructors towards a more complex theory of teaching lies in strongly held beliefs that “because learning is ultimately the student’s responsibility, effective teaching is an indeterminate phenomenon” (p.87). Ramsden argues that entrenched professor attitudes stifle their willingness to engage “cooperatively with learners to help them change their understanding” (p.114). According to Ramsden, adoption of a theoretical teaching approach based on the assumption that “learning is applying and modifying one’s own ideas; it is something the student does, rather than something that is done to the student” (p. 114) requires critical examination of the content and misunderstandings that students m...

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...ronicle article, “As educators, we should be far less focused on how many courses and credit-hours faculty teach, and far more concerned with seeing a variety of measurements, not simply a standardized test, of how much students are learning" (A43). It will be interesting to see if institutions include in their evaluation consideration the effective use of UID or technology enhanced instruction.

The range of issues related to teaching can often make tasks associated with elevating the practice seem insurmountable. However, forward movement in the field towards excellent teaching does not mean that we have to overcome all obstacles before we can progress. Rather, improvement can begin with baby steps that include faculty development opportunities, the use of reflective teaching instruments, expansion of teaching theories, and increased learner consideration.
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