Tuesday, March 31, 2009

get real

Later this afternon I will be heading to Louisville, KY where I will attend the IACBE conference (International Association of College Business Education). This is our official accreditating body for the College of Business here at Concordia University Texas. While there, I will be presenting on the topic of Student-Centered Assessment: How I abolished grades and established real learning.

So what is the difference between real learning and...fake learning? I'm not sure there is an exact opposite to real learning, but let me try to describe what I mean by "real learning." I believe real learning takes place when:
  • students take responsibility for their own learning
  • students are engaged in real-world projects and assignments
  • students direct the conversation
  • students are asked to think deeply and critically
  • students focus on excellent work rather than receiving a grade
  • feedback is about improvement, not a percentage
  • students ask questions about how to get better, not how to get a higher grade
  • students are excited to come to the classroom (or at least optimistic about what they will be doing)
  • there is less heard from the teacher - and more heard from the students
  • assessment is less about memorization and more about application
  • projects and assignments build on one another toward a culminating event
  • projects and aassignments have enough meaning that students will keep and use them later in life
  • students are able to articulate what they learned - rather than what grade they received
  • students learn about and practice skills and competencies while learning content int eh subject area

I have worked hard to create this type of classroom - some ideas work out spectatcularly...others flop! However, when I asked a student the other day about not receiving grades during the class, she said she actually worked harder on her assignments and in class because of that. Those words gave me enough incentive to keep the experiment going and tinker with the syllabus a little bit more, trying to make my classroom more about "real learning."

No comments: