Smaller classrooms, collaborative learning, the anti-lecture

I’ve been a teacher for over a decade.  One thing that everyone advocates is that discussion and collaborative learning should replace the standard lecture.  The reasons seem obvious:  you really don’t recall as much from lectures as you think you do.  Hypothetically (and almost always only hypothetically),  collaborative learning, small groups, etc. allows for higher order discussion.

That’s great.  I had an epiphany this week.  Everyone knows that smaller classrooms are better.  Here’s the problem:  collaborative learning really only works in smaller classrooms.  But the economics and logistics of education today of necessity moves to larger classrooms.  People are making fun of Betsy Devos for advocating 40+ students in a classroom.  Yeah, it’s stupid, but it’s no more unworkable than 30+ if you are wanting collaborative learning.

If you want the Hebrew model of education then you have to have smaller classrooms.

Another thing about the Socratic dialogue (which I’m actually good at).  I got this from Gary North.  It really only works with equals and advanced students.  Most students can’t really follow an argument (I couldn’t until college).


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