Learning is a difficult process, and one that is influenced by many different factors. Chief among those factors is the method by which a student is taught. Everyone learns differently, so it takes a very dynamic teaching model to accommodate every student who passes through this campus. Recently though, public K-12 schools seem more focused on standardized testing, which tends to encourage more temporary memorization, than gaining actual knowledge of the material.
In college though, instructors are given more leeway with their teaching styles. The change in atmosphere, with smaller class sizes and more time between classes, helps students, but is most valuable when a professor is able to offer a more interactive style than what was offered in high school. But when a professor does not do this and instead relies on the same methods used in grade schools, the students can have a difficult time learning. It’s the professors’ job to make sure all of the knowledge they teach on the subject can be understood.
Carol Marshall, a social science writer for The Clearing House, said “Those students who were identified by their teachers as being ‘slow or poorly achieving’ had learning preferences […] that were not supported within the traditional structure of teaching.” Research done at NYU Steinhardt supports the idea that more personalized and interactive teaching methods help students achieve academic success at higher rates than the traditional methods of lecturing.
Maria Barberos, the researcher who conducted the NYU study, said “What happens in the classroom depends on the teacher’s ability to maintain students’ interests.” She says students learn best when a variety of methods are employed by the instructor, but the most critical factors are that “Teachers and students work together in the learning process; students learn through participation and interaction; [… and] teaching is an active process.”
It’s difficult to employ diverse teaching methods and adjusting the way you teach to be able to suit every student’s needs. But when an attempt is made to accommodate every student, students listen and they learn. As Marshall says, when students’ needs are taken into consideration in the teaching process, it leads to “happier, better adjusted, and more successful students.”