by Anna Harkey, Anthropology
Abstract concepts can present a real challenge, and for most — and especially for the high percentage of freshmen who take the class each semester — the whole concept of a “theoretical perspective” is entirely foreign. They soon learn the names of different schools of theory, names of scholars associated with each, and details of case studies demonstrating what each looks like in practice. But as exams loomed closer last spring, Q&A time with my sections revealed that many were still confused.
by Anna Harkey, Anthropology
by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.
by Peyam Tabrizian, Mathematics
in the spirit of my Math 54 experience as a student and as a GSI, I decided to reorganize things. Instead of teaching the course in two separate chunks, I mixed the topics up in a way that I would first teach a linear algebra concept, and then immediately apply it to differential equations.
by Anna Rubin, Public Policy
Assigning students to small groups leveraged the economics background that many students brought to this class by putting them in the role of a peer teacher… This structure…help[ed] students struggling to understand core concepts…[and created] opportunities for all students to apply these concepts to public policy questions.
by Shawhin Roudbari, Architecture
When students brought their own work to this “theory class” they crossed a threshold…It’s one thing for students to read that postmodernism in architecture was partly a post-Fordist reaction to a modernist ethos. It’s another thing for them to situate their own work in an un-periodized historical context of the present.
by Allison Kidder, Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
I needed to find another way to help bring these concepts to life for my students. I recalled learning most intently when seeing examples of each concept out in the field in their unique spatial and temporal context. Using a little imagination and the wide variety of UC Berkeley’s campus resources available to us, I devised a series of field trips for my students on weeks they were learning new concepts. We traveled all over campus.
by Alejandra Figueroa-Clarevega, Molecular and Cell Biology
During discussion sections I became aware that my students were…studying the material as individual, independent, non-related facts. It was like trying to assemble a 3,000-piece puzzle without having a picture to refer to. Thus my goal became to help my students understand the context that would allow them to collect the facts more easily, group similar ideas together, and be able to place them in relationship to each other.
by Stacy Jackson, Energy & Resources Group
Nearly everyone has attended review sessions that provided a big boost in preparation and sessions that were a huge waste of time. All of us hope to deliver the “big boost” session, but how [do you] provide effective preparation without teaching to the test, especially in the common situation of having seen the exam in advance?
by Aaron Lee, Astronomy
I found that students were far too trusting of their calculators, possibly due to a fear of math, and they blindly accepted whatever the calculator returned. My solution…was to include weekly activities that taught students how to relate new concepts to familiar experiences to develop their intuition about the subject matter.
by Jessica Shade, Integrative Biology
I saw several examples of this disparity between surface learning of principles and working comprehension. For instance…students…had no problem calculating allele frequencies and genotype ratios using the Hardy Weinberg equations, but they were…baffled by the simple question, “What does this mean?”