Monday, September 8, 2014

"Why Flunking Exams is Actually a Good Thing."

Flunking  

Over the past year, I have been working with my undergraduate institution's Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Initiative (SoTL). Throughout this effort, I have been amazed while learning about various methdologies used among other discplines. Conversley, at times, I have been driven into the depths of despair (slight exageration) at the woefully inadequate measures of my own, and a fair amount of law school, teaching.  

I found this most recent article, passed along from SoTL, to be illuminating, and I wanted to share it with my clinical colleagues (who I am now "tagging" with the responsibility of continuing to pass the article along to other educators).  

In sum, the article is based on a recent study by Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, professor of psychology at UCLA, and postdoc research associate, Nichoals Soderstrom, who found that pre-testing students (helping them realize how much information they are lacking from the start), can be effective for improving academic performance and retention.  "Bjork‚Äôs experiment suggests that pretesting serves to prime the brain, predisposing it to absorb new information."  

It's incredible how such a seemingly simple flip can have a significant impact in the classroom....This article, along with my SoTL work, have made it very clear that I have "miles to go before I sleep..." 

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The author of the New York Times article is Benedict Carey.  [On a side note, apart from reporting for the Times, Mr. Carey  also has a book coming out later this month "How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where and Why It Happens."]

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/clinic_prof/2014/09/why-flunking-exams-is-actually-a-good-thing-.html

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