Saturday, January 21, 2006

Student Faculty Partnerships in Higher Education

Yesterday I participated in a workshop about student-faculty parternships in learning that was conducted by Dr. Anna Ball and Dr. Neil Knobloch in the Department of Human and Community Development at UIUC. (See Ball and Knobloch's learner-center teaching website.)

There were a lot of good ideas, but I came away especially intrigued by the idea of involving more students in the teaching process. We constantly talk about the need to invovlve students actively in learning. Perhaps on the best ways is to re-think our notion of what it means to be a student. At present the rough the division of labor is generally the teacher provides educational experiences and the student receives these teaching experiences. What if we assumed that in every instance students would always be expected not only to learn from the teacher, but would always be expected to have some role in teaching. This teaching might be in the same classroom as they are enrolled for learning, but it might also be students in another setting outside of this specific classroom. The point is that sometime during any class or learning situation, students would be expected to convert some knowledge, skill or experience into a learning experience for others.

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