Watch this video clip — and ask yourself…. ”Is that good teaching?”, “Are my lessons like that?”, “Do I want my lessons to be like that?”
Dan Meyer has blogged about pseudo context, and I’ve mentioned it recently here - Essentially pseudocontext is framing learning in an unbelievable, totally contrived manner that can build barriers. The olde “Imagine an Alien has landed – describe a dog to them” scenario — Really, an Alien? Why not something that your learners might actually encounter — “Imagine describing a dog to a visually impaired person” – is at least plausible, and a frame of reference that learners can buy into — an Alien??
Back to the video — IMHO as interesting to watch as that video clip is, I agree with Frank Noschese that we should coin the term “pseudoteaching”. You would imagine that Professor Lewin (in the video, from MIT) would achieve great results from his students — you’d be wrong. Attendance at his physics lectures fell 40% by the end of the term and an average of 10% of students failed…. (OK, 10%’s not bad — but a 40% drop out rate???)
Look again at the videos – Professor Lewin is doing all the work, using his energy and his brain. He might be entertaining but the students aren’t engaged and active in their learning — they are passive recipients, observing some form of “edutainment”.
But on face value, the lecture LOOKS good – high energy, interesting and stimulating visuals and a delivery style that must surely engage the learners?
Teaching has moved on
I know as teachers we recognise that effective learning involves the participation of the learners — heck, more than just the participation, the buy in, the belief and the desire to learn — we all acknowledge that learning is an active process.
But….I know when I’m feeling lazy and somewhat frazzled round the edges it seems easier to pseudoteach – after all, the learners will probably sit and consume me bouncing round the class for 45 minutes, with some Q&A at the end.
Have you pseudotaught today?