I believe learning takes place in a social constructivist framework which
implies my role as an educator is to empower and motivate students to build
their own understanding of a subject. My main ideas behind this were formed from
Further to this, I believe it is important to be able to offer a rationale for
all my pedagogic practice. Using a particular approach because of a traditional
context is not a sufficient and valid reason. This does not preclude my use of
traditional methods. An excellent text regarding evidence based practice in
learning is  (a book I would recommend to all
Based on a wide range of evidence (for example
I aim to create an active learning framework in my courses. My favored
definition of active learning is from
"Active learning is generally defined as any instructional method that engages
students in the learning process. In short active learning requires students
to do meaningful learning activities and think about what they are doing."
My classes are a flipped learning environment
making use of web technologies for the transfer of content ensuring class
meetings can be used appropriately for:
- peer based activities;
- reactive discussions.
Whilst these approaches are not traditional they constitute evidence based
6] and I hope that one day
they will in fact be traditional.
There might be some doubt as to the effectiveness of active learning approaches:
for example  is a paper where
no specific effectiveness of active learning was found in a particular class.
Inciting curiosity and engagement are still known to be beneficial to students'
learning. Indeed in
greatest predictors of academic performance are identified not as general
personality factors such as conscientiousness and openness. Thus my main role
and indeed responsibility is to help students gain an interest and enthusiasm
for the subject. This is something I continuously strive to get better at.
Furthermore, I am conscious that some students would feel excluded by my
approaches. Indeed: a lifetime of education in passive learning environments is
not something that will be immediately broken, thus:
- I share my rationale and philosophy with all my students;
- The content delivery I aim to use allows students who do not want to engage in
an active learning framework (despite the evidence for this providing a better
learning outcome) to "consume" the content passively.
I aim to continuously reflect on my practice, for example publishing peer
reviewed articles such as
as in all evidence based practice, when the evidence indicates that I should
change my practice: I will.
- Jordan, Anne, Orison Carlile, and Annetta Stack. Approaches to learning: a
guide for teachers: a guide for
McGraw-Hill Education (UK), 2008.
- Brown, Peter C., Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel. Make it
stick. Harvard University Press, 2014.
- Freeman, Scott, et al. "Active learning increases student performance in
science, engineering, and
mathematics." Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences 111.23 (2014): 8410-8415.
- Prince, Michael. "Does active learning work? A review of the
Journal of engineering education 93.3 (2004): 223-231.
- Talbert, Robert. Flipped Learning: A Guide for Higher Education
Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2017.
- Hake, Richard R. "Interactive-engagement versus traditional methods: A
six-thousand-student survey of mechanics test data for introductory physics
journal of Physics 66.1 (1998): 64-74.
- Andrews, T. M., et al. "Active learning not associated with student learning
in a random sample of college biology
courses." CBE-Life Sciences
Education 10.4 (2011): 394-405.
- Poropat, Arthur E. "Other-rated personality and academic performance:
Learning and Individual Differences 34 (2014): 24-32.
- Spearman, Charles. "'General Intelligence', objectively determined and
The American Journal of Psychology 15.2 (1904): 201-292.
- Knight, Vincent. "Playing Games: A Case Study in Active Learning Applied to
MSOR Connections 14.1 (2015): 28-38.