Onderwijs met een bord en krijtjes: de voordelen
vrijdag, 13 maart 2015 - Categorie: Artikelen
11 april 2012 (een docent die zijn tijd vooruit was)
In praise of chalk: the value of teaching without technology
It is almost the end of the academic term, and time to reflect on the past year’s teaching. Before I move into summer research activities, I like to take a little time to consider what changes to make in my teaching approach for the 2012-2013 campaign. One thing, however, will stay the same: I will continue to teach with a piece of chalk. Perhaps this seems obvious to some, but at the University level, I think most Professors have long abandoned the chalkboard. I encourage all instructors to return to the chalk, and here’s why.
1. Lights on! Using a chalkboard means the lights in a classroom have to be on, which keeps people more alert and engaged. It is seldom that students fall asleep when the lights are up, but in a traditional lecture format, when the lights dim, the eyelids drop.
2. Take notes: Students, when following along with an instructor who uses a chalkboard, take notes. This means they are actively engaged in the content. This also means the cell phones are away. When I teach with chalk, there is an alertness and level of engagement that I have not witnessed with other lecture formats.
3. Slow down: related to the previous point, when teaching with chalk, the pace must be slow because it takes time to write on a blackboard, and it takes time for students to draw / write what is being delivered. In general, I find that instructors (myself included!) try to cover too much content, and this usually ends badly. Less is more. Cover less material, but cover it well, and slowly.
4. Write, erase, write, erase: the chalkboard allows for quick and efficient “changes” to a sentence, graph, or mathematical equation. You can change on the fly, and quickly adjust what you write, and fix mistakes.
5. No faking it: It is very, very difficult to give a lecture on a chalkboard if you don’t know the material. You cannot depend on the powerpoint slide to guide you, instead you actually have to prepare carefully. No excuses. Technology can be a crutch and allow an instructor to appear as if they know the content. Go away, gimmicks. Give me chalk.
6. Humour & Humility: A Professor with a piece of chalk can have high entertainment value. In one of my classes this term, I think some of the students may have a bet each class about whether or not I will drop another piece of chalk (and watch it shatter into a dozen pieces). They think this is funny (and I appreciate that this is something that other people like about teaching with chalk!). I also make a lot of mistakes. I forget how to do simple math, and I make spelling mistakes. They catch me, correct me, and enjoy this kind of interaction. This humility makes the instructor seem like a real person. Someone you might be willing to approach, and talk to.
7. Cost: Universities are under pretty immense budgetary constraints these days – I think data projectors are here to stay, but I don’t see much opportunity for investment in smartboards and/or tablets for everyone. Chalkboards are in place. Chalk is cheap.
Voor de rest van het verhaal zie bovenstaande link.
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