Gerald Feldman: Establishing a Collaborative Student-Centered Learning Environment using the SCALE-UP Pedagogy

The time-honored conventional lecture (“teaching by telling”) has been shown to be an ineffective mode of instruction for science classes.  To enhance critical thinking skills and develop problem-solving abilities, collaborative group-learning environments have proven to be far more effective. 

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Photo: Gerald Feldman, Department of Physics, George Washington University

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In the SCALE-UP pedagogical approach, students sit together at round tables in groups of three — in this configuration, they carry out a variety of pencil/paper exercises (“ponderables”) using small whiteboards and perform hands-on activities such as demos and labs (“tangibles”) throughout the class period.  Formal lecture is reduced to a minimal level and the instructor serves more as a “coach” to facilitate the academic exercises that the students perform. 

I will present an overview of the SCALE-UP concept and outline details of its implementation at George Washington University over the past 14 years.  I will also discuss empirical data from assessments given to the SCALE-UP collaborative classes and the regular lecture classes at GWU in order to make a comparative study of the effectiveness of the two methodologies.  

The bi-weekly ODD seminar series at CCSE

The Open Discussions on Didactics (ODD) is a seminar series on Tuesdays at 14.15 every other week (odd week numbers) on Zoom.

The seminar will be maximum one hour, often closer to half an hour. It is an informal arena to present and discuss learning theory, educational research and teaching experiences within computational science. To cater to the highly heterogeneous backgrounds and interests of students, teachers and researchers in our environment, we aim for seminars that introduce listeners to new ideas within a broad spectrum of aspects, and that invites reflection and discussion.

Presentations need not be mature and polished - to the contrary we hope that as many as possible wants to share undigested observations and reflections in short presentations of varied form and topics. We hope to have enough contributions to frequently have the meetings as lightning talk sessions, where three different speakers will each give a 5-10-minute presentation followed by discussion.

Published July 13, 2022 10:21 PM - Last modified Aug. 15, 2022 1:36 PM