Harvard Conference Seeks to Jolt University Teaching

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A growing body of evidence from the classroom, coupled with emerging research in Harvard_Wreath_Logo_1.svgcognitive psychology and neuroscience, is lending insight into how people learn, but teaching on most college campuses has not changed much, several speakers said here at Harvard University at a daylong conference dedicated to teaching and learning.

Too often, faculty members teach according to habits and hunches, said Carl E. Wieman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who has extensively studied how to improve science education.

In large part, the problem is that graduate students pursuing their doctorates get little or no training in how students learn. When these graduate students become faculty members, he said, they might think about the content they want students to learn, but not the cognitive capabilities they want them to develop.

“It really requires someone to be doubly expert,”…

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