ERIC Number: ED307934
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-May
Reflections at Mid-Career: Commitments and the Classroom.
A prerequisite for learning is admitting simply that one "does not know." In order to discover and truly "know," one must have an open mind, suspend all preconceptions and assumptions, and be able to tolerate the ambiguity experienced when the line between formal subject matter and those assumptions begins to blur. Many community college students make sharp distinctions between their coursework and their lives outside of college. They have been led to believe that they possess no power or control in the classroom, and therefore often fail to take responsibility for their own learning. Encouraging students to take responsibility for their classroom experience requires faculty members to relinquish authority and open up a space for students to exercise their rights as learners. Only after students recognize the presence of ambiguity in the teaching-learning process can active learning, or discovery, take place. Ambiguity in the classroom may cause anxiety for some students, especially among community college students who tend to have lower skill development and less self-confidence. Some may draw back from the risks involved in determining for themselves which of several interpretations carries more weight. But others will begin to experience new ideas, question their beliefs, take chances by speaking their minds, and, in so doing, will become stronger thinkers and learners. These reflections are offered in the context of one individual's personal account of his decision to become and remain a community college sociology teacher. (ALB)
Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, College Faculty, College Instruction, Community Colleges, Learning Processes, Learning Readiness, Student Development, Student Responsibility, Teacher Guidance, Teacher Responsibility, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching (Occupation), Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Princeton Univ., NJ. Mid-Career Fellowship Program.