Dr Vicki Dale and I are running a very hands-on postgraduate course around creative pedagogies. One of the core messages I think we still have to make stronger: take a step back from discipline specific pedagogies. Teaching methods are in the least interdisciplinary–although I vote for transdisciplinarity!
So I am making a public plea: teaching is not about models!
It’s not about giving our course participants a training session on how to do PBL, TBL, OBL, IBL etc. Yes, I am intentionally playing abbreviation bingo here!
We do not want to hand out models to shoehorn your teaching practice into. Sure it might work but it might also utterly fail in your context, or just for you. Doesn’t mean the model doesn’t work, it only means it doesn’t work for you!
So we want our course participants to explore who they are as educators (teachers), what makes them interested, excited about teaching. What tools would they like to experiment with?
The idea is to look beyond; beyond models, beyond what you ‘should’ ‘ought to be’ ‘must’ be doing in your classroom.
We want our course participants to challenge status quo. To think about their learners, and the ones whose voices might not be heard, who might struggle in certain situations.
So I was wondering: What do TBL, PBL, IBL, OBL have in common?
- they have the learner focus in common
- they attempt to make the learning experience relevant to context
- they aim to encourage active participation of the students either actively engaging with an object in self study; or collaborating with peers to solve problems
- and by the way TBL can be tasked based learning or team based learning just to confuse you a bit more
So what is this about. This is about teaching models having their purpose. Yes, they do as little as I want to concede to that point. Vicki and I had lengthy debates about it.
However, they are not the one and only way to think about teaching. They are not the solution to all problems. They might need to be adapted in your context.
A colleague once told me: while they are still calling it TBL they have now adapted it so much that it doesn’t really bear resemblance to the original–rather rigid–structure because it didn’t work for them.
So my plea is to be your awesome, individual self!
Models are not indisputable axioms, to be followed precisely. All they can ever be are suggestions of a teaching method that might work, because it has worked before–for others in different contexts.
And if your students keep pointing out something over and over again, or a course/session just doesn’t work for you, and you do not know how to fix it. Have a chat with your friendly academic development (faculty development, learning design) department. We are always happy to help.
Are you on an idea finding mission?
This might help:
This open access book might be useful: 100 Ideas for Active Learning
Or join the #CreativeHE community on Twitter, Facebook or follow our blog
You could also have a nosey at The National Teaching Repository and while you are there explore last year’s CreativeHE Annual Compendium full of case studies and ideas