XcNews SystemK. Patricia Cross: Straight Talk from the Expert
Date: 3/19/2002 5:52:00 AM
Written By: Boo Browning
K. Patricia Cross walks it like she talks it, and as most of the 1,800 attendees at Innovations 2002 are aware, she's an expert on talk.
She took a brief moment during yesterday's conference to chat about her latest League publication, "The Role of Class Discussion in the Learning-Centered Classroom." Like Cross herself, this eagerly awaited work, which goes by the alias "Cross Paper Number 6," vibrates with passion about education. It is must reading, a typically straightforward and fresh look at classroom strategies that work. Cross will present the paper at 11 a.m. today in the Suffolk Room.
Although Cross has been a true catalyst in the Community College movement, she emphasized that her works are the product of a continuing learning process.
"You don't need a whole lot of theory," she said. "What we need is simply to reflect on what we learn, to watch ourselves in the process of learning."
Cross agreed with those she has talked to during Innovations 2002 who say that a sea change is occurring in the Community College. "Part of that is the paradigm shift," she said. But she believes that the students themselves are different these days.
Although she noted, "We've spent 50 years working on access," she believes strongly that "simply adding more people" doesn't amount to innovation. She said that 21st-century community college students, represent "the first really new population of students, with new demands."
Those demands include technolgy, self-improvement, anytime learning - anything to feed a new and pronounced hunger for varieties of education, and to keep on learning.
Cross emphasized the role of lifelong learning, and how its appeal reaches across diversities. She made no bones about how well she has been served and shaped by being a "perpetual student." But she laughed at the notion that she's at all atypical of the passionately practical professionals on hand at the conference.
"Community college teachers are very caring. I think they tend to be passionate. They respond to practical things that are easy to do, and that really work in the classroom."