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AnnaP's picture

Blurring the lines between teaching styles

Many people, myself included, have spoken up about how this class uniquely blurred the lines between the disciplines for them; I think this in and of itself attests to the fact that, at Haverford at least, lines between the disciplines are still drawn fairly sharply between classes and divisions (natural science, social science, humanities).

This also made me think about teaching styles, and made me reflect back to my first webpaper of the semester about teaching evolutionarily. I think that in the sciences, a top-down teaching approach is still very often used, with one person lecturing at the head of the class while students take notes; presumably, this is because of the perception that the students are memorizing 'facts' and there is not necessarily a lot to discuss. In humanities classes, a more collective and shared approach is often used, in which the professor does not lecture but instead engages in discussion with the group (presumably because it is more about individual interpretation). I wonder if the lines between these teaching methods should also be blurred, because I often hear students in science classes complain that the classes are boring and allow for no creativity, while at the same time I hear students in humanities classes sometimes saying that they wish they had more guidance, and that sometimes they think the discussion is too freeform.

I think that EvoLit has not only blurred the lines between science and literature, but has also blurred the lines between different teaching styles by switching back and forth between lectures and discussion, by using the Internet as a resource for online discussion, and by encouraging students to do in-class performances. I think that we are not yet aware of how much our college experiences could change if teaching styles continued to actively evolve to meet the changing needs of students.

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