WK 6 - Strategies and Challenges of Learner-Centered Ecology Education

Sunday, August 7, 2016: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
305, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Loren B. Byrne, Roger Williams University
Emily Rauschert, Cleveland State University
Evidence-based understanding of effective teaching and learning has changed dramatically in recent years. This has led to calls for instructors to evolve their pedagogical practices to be more learner-centered. Making ecology education more learner-centered is vital to improving students’ ecological literacy. In this workshop, participants will critically review and discuss strategies for designing and implementing learner-centered teaching methods that actively engage students. A guiding question to frame this is, how can instructors successfully implement learner-centered pedagogy while balancing associated trade-offs? The workshop will include participant-led development of teaching materials and dialogue to share ideas and experiences from a range of institutional and philosophical contexts. As such, it will be appropriate for beginning through veteran instructors. To frame and catalyze discussions, brief presentations will describe the backward design approach which emphasizes articulating learning outcomes to guide assessment of student learning and the development of active learning materials and lessons. Ecological examples for these three aspects will be shared. Working in small groups, participants will develop outcomes, assessment materials, and teaching activities for ecological topics. Time will be dedicated to sharing and discussing these, along with brainstorming variations and extensions. Throughout the session, emphasis will be placed on critically evaluating the challenges and trade-offs of adopting learner-centered teaching methods such as instructor workload, student resistance, and iterative implementation. A key goal is for participants to help each other refine and develop new perspectives about what it means to implement successful learner-centered teaching in ecology education.

Registration Fee: $25

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