Recap: “The New College Classroom”

At this event, Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis discussed their book, “The New College Classroom–What the latest science of learning tells us about inspiring, effective, and inclusive teaching at the college level.” CUNY Grad Center Provost, Steve Everett, describes their book as “a step-by-step how-to for transformation” fostering students who serve as “the primary active agents of their own growth.” The responsibility for creating active learners not only lies in the students themselves but in the pedagogy of our classrooms and the work of our teachers.

But why is this important? Cathy and Christina discuss how we must reevaluate a dated educational system that was designed to produce passive laborers, not active participants of a functioning society. In March of 2020, our entire educational system changed radically in the course of ten days when the nation shifted to virtual learning. We are in a different world, filled with different students, and faced with new, innovative research in the field of education. Their argument is clear: we must change the way we shape our classrooms if we are to change a broken world. A key pillar of their philosophy is creating an environment for metacognition– thinking about how you think. In an educational system defined by standardized testing and numerical metrics, students are not encouraged to reflect upon and learn from their mistakes; they are not encouraged to raise their hand even when they do not know the answer; they are not encouraged to assess their own progress in a course. The classroom should incite active participation and curiosity. Curiosity is at the core of our nature. Professor Davidson and Dr. Katopodis utilize the latest research and practices to develop a classroom that fosters this nature.

I loved this talk. As a student, I have worked, and continue to work, throughout the course of my college education to become a more efficient, active, and enthusiastic learner. I have dedicated time outside of the classroom to develop a deeper understanding of the science of learning and the best methods for studying. To see these ideas being discussed with the leading administrators and faculty of CUNY is exciting, to say the least.

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