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What benefits have you noticed from teaching this way instead of lecturing?
- Students come to class better prepared, because they know exactly what they will be asked to discuss.
- Students learn to read with greater levels of comprehension.
- Students learn how to use multiple sources of information in their study.
- Students learn to see other peoples' points of view.
- Students become more adept at speaking in front of groups.
- Students learn to work in teams, and solve problems collaboratively.
- Students demonstrate self-teaching ability when assigned to lab projects.
- Students can exceed instructor's knowledge as they study and research on their own (I have found this to be a regular occurrence in my classroom!).
- Students with "attention-deficit" problems are more engaged in Socratic discussion sessions than in lecture.
- Students may receive more individualized attention and direction from the instructor (if some class time is devoted for small-group work prior to student presentations).
- Student absences are "made up" in a more meaningful way, because every student knows exactly what was covered during discussion time.
- A wider range of learning styles are satisfied, as students are able to engage with the subject matter in a greater number of ways.
- Because discussion sessions are driven by student responses, the classroom pace adjusts to immediate student needs rather than being dictated by the instructor.
- Amount of "lecture time" required is roughly half of what it is without prior student research and preparation.
- The instructor's job becomes more stimulating, because active engagement with students' minds is far more interesting than performing a lecture.
- Because the curriculum is not based on a particular textbook, there is less variability when textbooks go through revisions. This makes is easier to align the curriculum to external outcomes and competencies.
- Worksheets allow for more complex and realistic problems to be presented to students, using less classroom time.
- Worksheets allow peer review of instructional content to fine detail, improving course quality.
- Out-of-class study groups becomes more focused with worksheets guiding student effort.
- Worksheets permit distance education for students whose schedules preclude regular classroom attendance.
- Individual student progress becomes immediately apparent to the instructor by monitoring their participation in the discussion and their interaction within student groups. This allows academic weaknesses to be identified earlier (and corrected sooner!) than in a non-interactive environment.
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