Why I don’t lecture

As a professor in the MAT@USC program, I occasionally get a question from a student that goes something like this:

“I enrolled in this program so that I could learn from the top-notch USC faculty. So why am I spending most of my time talking to my classmates instead of listening to YOU tell us what is important for us to learn?”
I appreciate it when a student asks this question, because I think it takes guts to speak up when you think a learning experience isn’t working for you, or isn’t being productive. I think it is an important question to ask. WHY, when I have a very expensive and hard-earned set of letters after my name, would I sit back and let my students teach each other? Why am I not bestowing this wisdom upon them? How are they getting their money’s worth out of a prestigious program from USC, when the professor isn’t the center of attention? Shouldn’t I be lecturing about Bandura and Piaget as so many of my academic predecessors have done? Lecturing is a time-honored tradition in academia, so why am I not honoring it?… Read More Why I don’t lecture

Whole Food, Whole Student

When I was a student teacher, the school I was assigned to had received a large chunk of cash as the result of scoring in the top ranks on a state assessment. There was quite a bit of controversy happening in the school over which employees should receive bonuses as a result of this influx of cash. The teachers, by and large, felt that they should be the sole recipients of the merit pay; after all, their jobs were the “front lines” positions, involving working directly with students on a variety of academic skills.

There was, however, a vocal opposition from the custodians, the lunchroom workers, and other support staff. They argued that their roles in the school were contributing to a healthy school environment, which also had an impact on students’ success. I’m inclined to agree with them, with one exception; the lunches. Oh, how horrible these lunches were. Without exception, every single school where I have worked, volunteered, collected data, or observed has served its students food that I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. {…}… Read More Whole Food, Whole Student