Do students learn what we want them too?

… excellent lecture by Robert Duke, a professor of music and human learning at the University of Texas Austin, on “Why students don’t learn what we think we teach” (hosted at Cornell University Videos).

Duke is captivating, and he makes a clear argument that students don’t learn what we think we teach because they’re too busy learning what we’re actually teaching, which is, often, that precision is more important than understanding and that grades matter. The solution, he argues, is to teach, over and over, the things that we actually want our students to remember after the semester is over. And, that we should not defer learning about “The Good Stuff” until after they’ve suffered through boring prerequisites. Instead, we should teach the good stuff first and teach what we really enjoy.

(my emphasis) Came across this via Darren Kuropatwa, original post on “Structure & Strangeness“. Duke makes a good point, and it applies to any level of education. What do we want our students to learn? What are we actually teaching them?

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