Sunday, 28 November 2010

Self-Reliant Learning Process

This semester, after 14 weeks of lecture and tutorial sessions as well as an open book test, more that a hundred students taking Principles of Chemistry should have been ready for the next real test that is final examination. As a lecturer (teacher precisely), I would like to see all of my students come out from the examination hall with a happy face and a big smile just because they sincerely studied and answered the questions with confident. 

Technically, what the result is coming later, it will reflecting myself as a teacher, how I had efficiently and effectively teach and deliver the contents. That's not account student's personal problem, different students backgrounds, number of students, and may be a little bit of discipline and attendance issues, etc.

Very true, standing in a lecture hall in the front of more than a hundred students, and teaching these subjects especially structure of atoms and quantum chemistry was a real challenge to me, even after three semesters teaching the same course. And this is also my first time the students demanding answering guide from me. Of course, nothing wrong with it. It just reminding me to an advice given in a Teaching Training course quite sometime a ago. It has been said that, a student's study style is reflecting by the teacher's teaching style. Somehow, it make me thinking that if the teacher put a lot of affords to put the teaching contents into a simple and easy to understand, does the student will do the same? Because, the teachers only “ask” books and some online references, or probably through deep discussion amongst them to help them to solve the questions.

Let give a general example, using a simulation in a class probably will help the students to put a few ideas in a same moment. For the teachers, they priorly need to do research and keep searching for the best simulation to be presented. The fact that, some of active teachers or lecturers, they developed the simulation themselves. So, what would happen if the students do the same, searching around for additional information, try out different activities which is available online in a large number. I wonder if the students with highly curiosity and proactive, that lead them to explore and learn in a similar way to what their teachers did, will ask the questions that the answers are already there.

Now, the real factor has transformed from teachers afford to students independency. Teachers afford may induce or trigger the students interest to a subject. It is not fair for the teachers to enforce the students to do exactly what the teachers have gone through. It rather courteous to give opportunity or easier excess to the students to achieve a learning objective. So, it is totally up to the students to fully utilize any or all sources that could be available.

This is definitely not a simple subject to be discussed. A lot of factors should be taken account. However, it is pretty much accepted that student centered learning should be very consistent with the meaning of university or college student. In other words, the students themselves should always have full of curiousity, critically think, and proactive to find an answer or solve a problem. The most difficult task for the teachers or lecturers is how to make the students “full lot of energy” to pass the “energy barrier” that lead them to study at their will…!

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