Tips from the McMaster Community

I want to keep the best students challenged in my classes without losing the weaker students entirely.
Linda Lysynchuk, Department of Psychology

In order to make sure that all the students in my classes benefit from the instruction, I have used the following approach:

With two 50-minute lecture periods per week, I organize the time and activities like this:

First, I give my students some reading to do on the topic before the class.

Before the first lecture period I set up a series of "learning centres". The "learning centres" consist of various activities such as exercises, problems, or demonstrations which illustrate the principles contained in the lecture material. Many of these activities are actual experiments that the students have read about in the pre-reading.

At the first class, I give a short introduction and then the students spend the rest of the time working through the "learning centres" in groups of four or five.

During the second class, the students complete the "learning centres", then the entire class discusses what they have learned and I stress the important points in a lecture. The lecture acts only as a review of the important material.

Pre-reading and learning centres provide weaker students with a concrete means of learning the material and plenty of time to do so.

The learning centres give the best students an opportunity to see how abstract principles may be tested in experimental settings.

This approach in general, and especially the use of actual experiments in the learning centres, is motivating to students and often helps them to design their own studies.

Back ArrowBack