Teaching inside and learning outside the classroom
I am still new to teaching, but I already understand that although teaching is the goal, ensuring that students are learning is the more difficult task. When I think back to my time at UWGB, I remember having a successful classroom career. I faithfully took notes during lecture, reviewed them, and answered questions efficiently on exams. The mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. Wilhelm Wundt was the first to conduct psychological experiments. I can still bring a pretty good argument to the table as to why jazz developed in New Orleans and not somewhere else like, say, Paris.
The lectures were important, but, where I really started to learn was outside of the classroom. The things I was taught in lecture helped me find what I was really interested in. They gave me the tools I needed to prepare myself for my future. Being taught statistics may give you an idea of what an ANOVA or a correlation is, but it is completely different when you have your own dataset to analyze.
I still feel today like I got a sweet deal in my college education. My professors at UWGB were extremely engaged in the teaching and learning processes, constantly trying to improve on their lectures and what students took away from them. But, to me, that wasn’t what I appreciated most about UWGB. The Psychology department in particular, where I spent a lot of my time, was never short of professors looking for teaching or research assistants or providing support for the completion of an independent project. I did all three, on very widely ranging topics (from death humor to cognitive dissonance). The lectures that covered these topics were some of my favorites and that led me to seek these opportunities outside of the classroom. It was there that I ultimately discovered that psycholinguistics and language acquisition was what got me up in the morning.
I’m not sure that I would have come to this conclusion had I attended a different university. It took a lot of soul-searching on my part as well as some hard work, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my professors both inside and outside of the classroom. Don’t get me wrong; there are all kinds of learning that goes on during a lecture and students need this basic knowledge. Education begins in the classroom, but the real learning, the kind that helps build the students’ future to find what really makes them happy, happens outside of the classroom.
Katie Von Holzen,
Université Paris V René Descartes,
Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception