The more I teach, the more I realise that you always have to try new styles of teaching. In the beginning, I guess I was looking for the ultimate format for teaching – the “one true ring to rule them all” of pedagogy. I am glad to say that I long since put that idea out of my head. I haven’t got a particular schedule for when I want to try new things. Sometimes I try several new ideas in course of a month, other times I stick with what I know for a while. Sometimes new things work so well it becomes a basic part of my teaching – other times… not so much. The joy of teaching a good group of students is wonderful, and I am bolder with ideas when I know the students are motivated.
Today, I tried teaching using the masterclass style. It is a kind of teaching I have never tried in this context, but that I was used to from my music lessons. The occupational therapy students here have rapidly become one of the most enthusiastic and motivated student groups on campus. Teaching them is always a joy. About a month ago I received the first requests for literature searching for their bachelor’s thesis. In stead of giving each group 30 minutes of my time (like I have always done in the past), I decided on doing this the masterclass way. I asked the teacher if I could have a few hours of time, and she, being the champ that she is, I immediately got a “yes” there. (Don’t you just love such teachers? I do!) The students came to an auditorium, and I called on each group – one at a time – to present their topic. I then commented on their search strategy, suggested search terms, tested a few searches, showed them some new databases that could help them or suggested databases that would be of most use. I had 12 groups during the four hours I had the room.
How did it go? Well, I guess I will have to see as the semester and the progress with the theses go on, but I think it went well. The students were motivated (or very good actors:)), they seemed to have no objection to be asked questions on front of everyone, and everyone was eagerly taking notes. We also had a chance to address a few more general questions on citations, on databases etc. I was quite exhausted afterwords, seeing as we had two 5-10 minutes break in four hours, and I had to think on my feet concerning finding good search terms etc., but I think it was worth it. At least I hope so. Later this month, I will test this method with a much larger group and it will be interesting to see whether the students will be as comfortable then.