The Truth is Powerful
Richard J. Light describes what happened in a course when he asked the students themselves to lead parts of each class.
track5/E+/getty images In a previous article, Allison Jegla and I emphasized the importance of experimenting to create more effective classroom teaching. We discussed two different approaches that faculty members we know tried and the results they had, and we shared other information we had gleaned in our research for our new book, Becoming Great Universities . In this piece, I will describe a teaching experiment that I recently conducted, also featured in the book.
I routinely teach first-year seminars for new students at Harvard University—classes specifically targeted to first-year students, with enrollment capped at 14 people. The whole point is to encourage students to speak up, get some airtime in class and develop connections with both one another and the professor. The only requirement for the professor is that they host all students for a meal at some time during the semester. This encourages conversation in a more informal setting and helps to foster the sense of community that is a core goal of freshman seminars at many colleges.
I decided to try a simple teaching experiment over a two-year period in which I would teach a freshman seminar called Tackling Tough Challenges for Modern American Higher Education. I would teach […]