Sunday, 29 November 2015

Stalking the Second Tier (UKPSF K3 V4)

I have seen a couple of references to the book: They're Not Dumb, They're Different: Stalking the Second Tier by Sheila Tobias

 This was a report about an interesting study, where they got some students who had dropped out from science courses to take say creative writing courses at the undergraduate level. The students kept a journal of their experiences. This was obviously a study done at an American University, because by the nature of specialism in the UK, the majority of the students in the English department would not know enough mathematics to deal with a physics course.

The first student found that he was solving a lot of problems. He didn't like the fact that he couldn't discuss physics with the teacher in the class. He felt that the exam was much easier than all the home works. He also noticed that the students didn't work together on problems. Also there was a lot of competition between the students about the grades they were given.

When I look at what the student wrote, I see that the problems started very simply, but they gradually built in complexity. I don't see anyway to teach any other way . If the problems are too complicated the students will not be able to do them. However, it is clear that we need to relate different parts of the course, so that the students see the "big picture." Also it would be good to develop some concept questions.

We also need to make clear the teaching method.

I am sure the student enjoyed discussing different aspects of novels, but what did he really benefit, if everyone has an opinion, which is equally valid.