Today's Teaching and Learning Paradigm

A recent US News and World Report article reported that the length of most television ads is now 15 seconds, and that there is experimentation with 3-second advertisements. Television, with its rapid pace of visual images, as well as computers and other forms of technology that provide instant feedback to users, have laid ineffective the dependence upon "lecture-as-monologue" being the primary vehicle of instruction. Today's students do not learn very effectively from such a format (and yesterday's students would likely have learned a lot more from varied formats, as well!)

An even more important argument for a more contemporary approach, however, is that recent brain research has fundamentally changed what we know about how students learn. The "student-as-receptacle" model does not match any of current research! Strategic teaching relies on that research to understand more thoroughly how the human brain processes information, and then uses instructional methods that are likely to be more efficient and effective in achieving mastery of course concepts. The healthy human brain has a virtually inexhaustible capacity to learn-to detect patterns, to remember, to self-correct from experience, and to create. Achieving the learning outcomes that you have established for your courses requires an on-going understanding of, and attendance to, students' learning systems and styles.

A final argument for employing strategic teaching is that the world sends its students to our institutions to work with professors who are expected to be cutting edge in research interests and methodologies. Isn't it also as critical that we be cutting edge in fostering student learning? Active learning strategies are regular topics of focus on this website, and an integral element of the forthcoming Teaching College in the Age of Accountability, available in the Spring from Allyn and Bacon.

Shop on line at or Barnes & Noble to get your copy of Dr. Lyons' book, The Adjunct Professor's Guide to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the College Classroom.

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