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Achieving Excellence in CTE: Team Based Learning

Oklahoma State University Institute of TechnologyBelow is an extended session description from presenter Tim Dwyer, Automotive Educator at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s Pro-Tech Program on his upcoming session at Achieving Excellence in CTE, the National Career Clusters Institute. Sign up for this session and more today!

I have said that my next new idea will be my first one! And after my first three years of teaching we needed some new ideas because what we were doing was not working. I was prepared for class and tried to be as entertaining as possible, attempting to keep the interest level up during the “lecture” process I remembered having to endure as a student myself. Then I found my PLN to be a lifesaver as I followed a suggestion to look at a teaching strategy called “Team-Based Learning” by Larry Michaelsen.

Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a strategy to transform a group of students into high-performance learning teams. Let’s face it; career technology students want more hands-on time in their learning. Many students don’t like lecture, reading, or delayed feedback. How do we encourage them to come to class with ‘first contact with content’ and not waste valuable class time so they can get to the hands-on part they really learn from? TBL answers this question and more.

You will leave this class with ideas you can use in your classroom immediately. Ideas that I have been using for 8 years now and can show you how and why they work! Discussions include individual testing that allows for splitting answers, followed by the same test taken again in a team environment using scratch off answer sheets. Immediate feedback is addressed by this process.

Peer reviews will be discussed; as well as application exercises that encourage student engagement. TBL also allows the class to decide grade weights and write their own exams, possibly considered controversial, but proven to be effective. The idea is to allow the student to be accountable for their own education and the instructor to become more of a classroom facilitator.

TBL makes learning fun for both student and instructor, and fun means student engagement. TBL challenges traditional lecture based education with a shift of educational accountability from the instructor to the student. I don’t believe we are responsible to just tell students all they need to know, we are simply to provide an environment that allows learning. Then it is up to the student to take responsibility for their own education.

Having said all this, I have continued to attend training with the goal of synthesizing and building on the works of others and to encourage others to build on our works. That’s how it works!

The common denominator seems to be … putting in the work.

Tim Dwyer, Automotive Educator at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s Pro-Tech Program

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