Some university teaching practices are held sacred, but perhaps college professors can learn from progressive teaching tactics of K-12 classrooms.
Case in point: Joshua Spodek who attended EduCon, a conference designed for K-12 educators mostly out of curiosity, left the weekend committed to revamping a New York University graduate level business course using what he learned about the tenets of inquiry-based learning. Educators at the conference helped him think through how it would work and pointed out how well suited his class would be for inquiry -- for one primary reason: His students pay money to take courses they have already expressed interest in learning.
“As I heard more people talking, I realized that [an inquiry] style of teaching would be more useful to me than the traditional style,” Spodek said. He’d originally prepared to lead the entrepreneurial marketing and sales class the way many professors do; he sat down and figured out what he wanted students to know, put that information in a specific order and mapped out how he’d teach the content to them. He planned on giving them homework to make sure they were understanding the information he fed them and he would test them to make sure they were doing the work.
“It takes a lot of work because I have to anticipate all their questions,” Spodek said. As a new professor, he was stressed out cramming to make sure he could be the authority on all the information he might need to know. “This way, I first have to think about what’s interesting to the student, about why they care about this,” he said.