A few years ago, I served as a visiting professor at Harvard University for the first time, and I had the privilege of meeting the respected educator and physicist Eric Mazur. I was moved by and impressed with his message, but meeting him also made me aware of my level of frustration at the lack of change in teaching practices.
Mazur passionately shared the changes that millennial students need, even beyond the regular improvements and discoveries made in educational technology. However, we educational developers are baffled about the lack of change in most teaching practices. I dearly hope that faculty members, educational developers, and instructional designers will advocate for new teaching practices.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this plea, and I have used it for motivation, in a certain way it has become my mantra. If the faculty workshops I give on flipped classrooms or on active pedagogy improve even only one student’s learning experience, I feel less frustrated. Faculty members tend to analyze everything to death (“the devil is in the details” could be the philosophy of higher education today), and by the time they actually implement an innovative strategy to improve education, it is already out of date. All of this planning and research seems to be a smoke screen that hides a fear of (and resistance to) change. I beg all faculty members to get out of their comfort zones and try technologies that externalize the transfer of information; this will give students real opportunities to learn during class. Don’t just look for perfection!
Dumont, A., Berthiaume, D., (2016) La pédagogie inversée. De Boeck