Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Ideas for The New Academic Year

Over summer I had the opportunity to read a lot about teaching in general and in particular about higher ed. The two main areas in pedagogy that made an impact on my thinking are: constructivism and individualism.

The first one, constructionism (constructivism), refers to the idea de we learn building on top of other ideas. As more complex phenomena is understood based on the relationships that it has with simpler experiences.

The second one, individualism, is based on the idea that we all are different and thus have our own ways of learning new concepts. This last area has to be viewed within the context of the similarities that we have just because we are humans and our brains basic functions are the same. The subtle differences then come not from the basic functions but from how this basic functions relate.

The problem is that these relationships are non-linear and in our organizations we have a lot of linearity like the way we design courses in the 100, 200, and higher levels. One may assume that the 100 level is for nomenclature development, while the 200 level allow for the solution of problems that require quantification. Higher levels will introduce the synthesis and analysis beyond quantification but including it.

As I am teaching General Chemistry at the 200 level and Organic Chemistry at the 300 level, I can put into practice these ideas and as I move along I will write about it giving specific examples.

Do you have any examples of these ideas.

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