Friday, June 13, 2008

Roger Schank and Effective Teaching

Roger Schank, one of the world's leading researchers in artificial intelligence, learning theory and cognitive science, discussed his ideas on learning in a series of lectures.The current methods of teaching are ineffective because of several problems, one of which is the mindset of teachers as authority figures whom students need to impress, rather than as mentors who work closely with students to help them learn."Education is not about pleasing the teacher," Schank said.Another problem with the current education system is that lectures are not effective ways of teaching. Students should be asking the questions. Curriculum is often irrelevant to actual situations a person will face in his or her life.Instead of traditional methods, Schank recommends complete emersion into the learning environment. He referred to the analogy of cave men who did not sit in lectures or go to classrooms, but learned as they went along. They learned by telling stories,learning procedures and copying the actions of others, among other techniques.Schank has established the Virtual International Science and Technology Academy, which is founded upon these ideas.He suggests getting rid of the classroom setting and allowing students to experience real situations-putting them in situations where they are forced to find a solution, and where success is it own reward, rather than grades and scores.

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