Instructors often equate teaching with lecturing. That's not surprising, because most of us had lectures throughout high school and college. But when asked to describe how they learn best, teachers' answers vary, from reading on their own to trying new things to talking about ideas with others. Research on learning backs this up.
Read the following myths and facts about learning.
Myth We must be sitting in a chair at all times in order to learn.
Our ability to learn by experience diminishes in direct proportion to the amount of time we spend sitting.
Myth The person who does the most listening does the most learning.
The person doing the most talking, moving, or writing is doing the most learning.
Myth The best way to teach is to give information in a well-planned lecture.
We remember 10 to 20 percent of what we hear. If we want someone to "hear" something, we lecture. If we want students to "learn," we need to work as a guide on the side and involve them.
Myth If we'd only listen, we'd remember more.
We learn and remember 80 to 90 percent of what we do and say. In order to learn anything well, we need to talk about it with each other and do it a number of times.
Myth The more "serious" the learning is, the more we will remember.
We learn and remember best when we are engaged and enjoying what we're doing.
Myth Fun is marginal to learning.
Not only do we learn best and remember more when we enjoy success at an appropriately challenging experience, we also will be more willing to seek out other challenging experiences.
Myth The only person who should be the "sage on the stage" is the expert in the field.
We are all in the process of becoming experts in something. The more of our knowledge we share with others, the more we learn.
Adapted from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, www.ascd.org.
Most people learn best by actively working with new concepts and ideas, solving problems, asking and answering questions, discussing, debating, brainstorming, researching, and explaining. Successful teachers provide students with opportunities to engage in these types of activities.