I strive to provide a learning environment that is comfortable and learner centered. A comfortable environment is one where respect and dignity is afforded to each individual. A learner centered environment gives attention to what is taught (information, subject matter), why it is taught (understanding), and what competence or mastery looks like .
According to , students come to a classroom with preconceived notions about how the world works. (See [i] in Footnotes section for a corollary.) Thus, I try to engage a student by drawing out and working with these preexisting understandings. Furthermore, a teacher should present important topics in depth. I do this by providing many examples in which the same concept is at work and by providing a firm foundation of factual knowledge. In addition, facts and ideas are presented within a conceptual framework, allowing a student to organize their knowledge to facilitate retrieval and use.
Assessments (e.g., exams, quizzes, assignments) are inevitable in most classroom settings. A well-designed assessment should make the students' thinking and learning visible to both the teacher and student. I use assessment results to understand where the student is in their development from informal to formal thinking, and to (re)design instruction accordingly. While most students' do not appreciate this fact - assessments help both teachers and students monitor progress.
Your education and learning doesn't stop once you complete college. You'll be learning your whole life - in both professinoal and personal settings. So understanding how you learn is probably the most important skill you can develop while in college. While there is still much we do not know about how people learn, researchers generally agree on the types of skills that are useful to be a life-long learner. These skills include:
For those that are interested, the buzzword that describes this topic is metacognitive  .
A grade is one result from taking a course, but earning a good grade should not be your primary goal. Instead you should focus on learning the material and learning how you learn. Focus on connecting new facts to your pre-existing knowledge, developing and using conceptual frameworks, and using assessment results to identify the learning methods that worked. If you focus on learning, your grades will naturally be better.
From another perspective, grades may be important when you interview for your first job. However, more important than grades is how you answer questions like: "What did you learn in course X?" and "How will you apply what you learned in Course X?". After your first work experience, your grades become an historical record that is rarely referenced in any professional setting.
Below is a list of learning strategies that have worked for me. The items in each list are in no particular order. Hopefully, each list provides you with a starting point for learning how you learn.
Last updated on August 31, 2005.