Friday, 4 December 2015

On pretending to be a student (UKPSF K2 K3 V4)

There is archive at Cornell for papers on physics education. A couple of days ago, there was an interesting, but some what weird paper on a tutorial at a workshop for staff on the topic of physics education. The idea was for staff to pretend to be students and then do an exercise. Given that one section heading was "The whiteboard as contested territory", this tells the reader that the exercise was
a disaster. My conclusions are that the person who was leading the discussion did a poor job. Also it is not clear what the point is of the staff members pretending to be students is. The whole point of evidence based teaching is that the research should be based on the understanding of real students.

As some of my colleagues pointed out, there doesn't seem to be enough content for a publication.

For reasons not totally clear to me, I probably to know a little about sociology, to pass this PGCAP course. I was searching for some information when I found this BLOG entry.  This guy notices that his behaviour as a student in the PGCAP course is not very different to when he was a pupil at school. He talks with other people during lectures, so he is disruptive. Part of the problem is that he doesn't want to be at the lecture in the first place.

I can see why he passed the course, but looking at the references he didn't really do a great deal of additional work. A lot of the references are to the philosopher Foucault,  So I assume he already knew about Foucault, given that he is in School of Applied Social Science, so he just shoe horned his previous knowledge into a framework the people marking the essay liked. 

After reading the introduction to the blog post, I think  he is a reasonable teacher. It is not clear that the PGCAP course helped him improve his teaching. They passed him, because he shared a common language with the PGCAP markers. 

In one of the  PGCAP lessons I attended the teacher said "you can quote Foucalult", and I thought  I am not quoting any of that postmodern crap, but I probably should, if I want to pass the course.

Anyway the linking theme of the paper and the blog post is that staff members are not so different to students when they are being lectured too, or when they are in a tutorial group. I don't think that this observation can be used to enhance, student centred learning, because the staff members are still different to students.