The New College Classroom

Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis give us an overview of the current climate of pedagogy, especially concerning higher education. A striking statistic they mention in the beginning is that in classrooms professors talk for 87 percent of the time, meaning students take up a measly 13 percent of the class discussion. This is one of their main gripes with the current structure of the classroom, this antiquated dynamic of the silent student and the all-knowing professor in the front. Another data point they mention is kids asking 20 questions an hour while at home, while at school it drops to an average of 3 questions per hour. They draw a clear line to unwelcoming school environments–the school system must be to blame. 

Dr Christina Katopodis introduces us to the concept of “think, pair, share.” I am familiar with this class because of a class I took last semester with Professor Evangelista. We would start the class by breaking out into smaller groups and discuss the reading, then as a whole go around and share what each group went over. I truly appreciated this conscious effort to interrogate systems of learning, and it felt like we all took away more from the class because our Professor’s goal was to have us learn as much as we could, in a way that worked for us. A lot of classrooms can feel carceral, especially when there is a white professor in front of a group of non-white students. A big part that resonated with me from the presentation was the mention of care in the classroom–compassion is too often left out of the curriculum. Learning with Professor Evangelista was truly an inspiring experience because she led with care. 

The last quote I took from the lecture was “structure equity into courses to cater to every learner.” Too often we see a blanket approach to learning, which neglects many students, and favors one type of intelligence. I am here for revolutionizing learning, and making it as inclusive and accessible as possible.

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