My experience of pedagogy from school to college to even some part of grad school has been same. I had always thought that the conventional way i.e. a single person talks to a group of people sitting in a hall trying to explain them what he/she knows or what the book says, the group of people try to grasp as much as they can and make notes, work on homeworks/ assignments and finally give an exam and the grade is a marker of how much they actually learned, was the tried and tested way of teaching and learning.
But last semester when I took the Communicating Science course, my thinking completely changed. That course was all about communication with the fellow classmates, communicating your research to them, getting their feedback, getting their appreciation, writing news articles about each other’s research etc. What was happening was that I was presenting my work number of times to different people with varied research backgrounds and in the process I was building a network, which helped me learn and understand my research in a different and better way. What this course helped me realize was that networked learning is really important and effective.
Coming back to the method 1, is the conventional method which is still the most prevalent one around the world, really effective? Because many grades on my transcript( and of most people’s) are the result of studying restlessly a day or two before the exams and not real learning. However, the method 2 which encourages the “learners” to engage in discussion, debate, dialogue and learn a lot more in the process is really effective. A great example of this would be the discussion we had in the first class of Contemporary Pedagogy. I really wasn’t aware of the discussed aspects of the Learning management systems and just listening to people talk about their perspective on the topic helped me learn a lot and actually encouraged me to go back and research more about it.
I think there is a need to change our understanding of “learning” and the pedagogy will play a crucial part in it. Courses like Contemporary Pedagogy or Communicating science need to be introduced to a wider audience and young teachers and future professors like us should inculcate these new approaches while teaching.
Looking forward to a lot more ‘networked learning’ throughout the semester and fellow learners, feel free to pitch in your ideas/comments/views on this topic.