Thursday, November 11, 2010

Paper reading in class

I think one big mistake we make when teaching is to always present facts that are fully digested and neatly packaged. By doing this, we're depriving students of opportunities to learn how to chew on raw "unprocessed" ideas and extract meaning for themselves.

To put these thoughts into action, instead of just telling my wireless networks class how certain wireless routing protocols work through a presentation/lecture, I instead did a joint paper-reading session in class today.

We read through, together, the original papers by the authors of two protocols. The students took turns reading a few paragraphs each, and we took breaks periodically to discuss and consider the meaning of what we had read. I did go to the board to clarify a few points, but overall, it definitely felt like I ceded more control over their own learning to the students today. Very satisfying.

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