Using a student centred learning approach in a large class context


Teaching in large classes traditionally involves a formal lecture setting following a 'sage on stage' format. This is often dissatisfying for staff and students alike and results in surface rather than deep learning. Recent developments in teaching has seen a shift away from this traditional approach with lecturers adopting a more flexible style of teaching that incorporates multimedia and discussion as part of the learning experience. However, adopting this practice in large classes is often problematic. In second semester 2002 I coordinated a first year psychology unit. The unit is designed and taught by the School of Psychology for Bachelor of Social Science students. The unit traditionally attracts approximately 80-100 students from a range of areas within the School of International, Cultural, and Community Studies, and this semester 85 students enrolled. This presentation describes my decision to use a student centred discussion format to teach a large class. It evaluates the methods I used and the success or otherwise of the unit from the perception of both my students and myself.




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