blog 01. the new college classroom: rekindling curiosity in academia

Image of library with book shelves, circular window, bathing a few tables in the room in the su

Rekindling Curiosity in Academia

A common piece of advice I received as a prospective college student in high school was to learn how to teach myself, because high school would be the last time I’d have my hand held through lessons and assignments. As someone who has always felt that I learned best from being taught a concept, I couldn’t wrap my head around how attending college lectures wouldn’t be helpful in learning and understanding the material.

It was only when I began my freshman year of college and attended a few lectures for myself where I recognized how this disparity could exist. As a sophomore now, I’ve recognized that learning in academic institutions, at present, is not about gaining knowledge, enrichment, or strengthening one’s own ability to think for themselves as it may well be advertised to be. Each course is instead a mission to understand a professor, what types of questions they may ask, and, most importantly, how to ace their exams. Strategy and the pursuit of bigger and bigger numbers is held well above all else at the expense of receiving an actual, beneficial education.

Although this is evident throughout some of middle and most of high school, the shortcomings of the education system truly stands out in college. Many of the formalities upheld in high school for the sake of obscuring much of school’s incompetence are abandoned in higher education. With pretenses stripped away, the failures of our current education system become glaringly obvious.

The truth of the matter is that the education system, as it currently is, is not meant to foster a love for learning. Rooted in dated teaching and learning techniques, academia now is centuries behind what the scientific research at present advises us to do and not do. There is an urgent need to reprioritize how we approach education and foster a desire to learn in students at all levels.

The truth of the matter is that the education system, as it currently is, is not meant to foster a love for learning.

At the level of higher education, Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis are two individuals who are dedicated to this cause and in positions in the City University of New York to bring long delayed change to revamp the education system. I, like many of the CUNY Peer Leaders of the 2022-2023 cohort have shared, am passionate about learning. However, most of my pursuit for knowledge is done in private, with school sometimes even serving as an obstacle to being able to dedicate time and energy to truly seeking education. To incorporate this pure, unbridled desire to know into higher education can seem like an infeasible task. But in The New College Classroom, Davidson and Katopodis provide an informative guide to demonstrate how it is very much possible through scientifically backed methods in active learning.

Adjusting to refocusing education back onto true knowledge will undoubtedly require a lot of work from people at all levels, including students, professors, and administrative authorities. In fact, many students would deem it a burden to take the effort to truly understand and care about what they learn. However, the long term benefits this will have on the depth of students’ cognition not only makes this endeavor an important step for the advancement of academic institutions, but also a moral obligation for such facilities to truly adopt the purpose for which they have been created.

The New College Classroom

Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis’s book The New College Classroom details ways of pedagogy in which students can excel in a classroom environment that encourages them to take lead and engage in ways that will propel them not only in their academic careers but in life. This discussion was very interesting and insightful and The New College Classroom will change lives and the education system altogether. Teachers all over can and will look to this as a guide to increase engagement and productivity in their classrooms. Many people do not finish school because they aren’t in environments that are supportive, or taught in ways that make them want to learn. I enjoyed how the authors asked the audience questions as well to get their perspectives and how the authors highlighted statistics and the demographics of the 18 million college students. It is the reason why the method of teaching is so vital and not just the information being given. That was meant to resonate with the listeners and it did. I personally feel this book and method of teaching should be read by every professor, and should be applied in every school. All students, all ages should be able to sit in a classroom that supports and focuses on meaningful learning and outcomes that matter. The discourse on alternative assessments, how to structure equity in courses, and how in order to create life changing learning, the Professor must change too, is absolutely revolutionary. As a student I have always excelled in a classroom environment where I was able to freely participate and speak my mind and it is crucial we create this space for all students. 

The New College Classroom

Changing the world begins with The New College Classroom

Through the collaboration of Professor Cathy N. Davidson and Dr.Christina Katopodis, we revisit the many ongoing issues within the educational system. In The New college classroom event, both Cathy and Christina discuss their book launch on developing strategic steps to changing traditional education systems.

In their re-approach they showcase the academic shifts that occurred in the 19th century. Through history we learn that the education system became a tool to manage labor during the industrial era causing inadequate student performance, instructional based classrooms, and stricter evaluations. All of these factors create a subordinate society that lacks innovation, flexibility, and adaptability. A society that only serves to benefit cooperations and high powered individuals.

However, Cathy and Dr.Christina take an interesting stance of resolving this inequality. Rather than demanding changes from high powered individuals who control the education system, they actually reach out to inspire students and professors. Teaching us, the people who are in the classrooms how to reshape our education environment, take accountability, and essentially own back our classrooms. They discuss how there’s a lack of student engagement, not many students ask questions, share their opinion or voice themselves at all. This is very problematic considering that school is a place where ideas are exchanged and taught. Thus, ideas are supposed to be discussed, challenged, questioned, and answered so that we may further advance as a society.

So how do we create a new classroom environment that allows for an easier flow of ideas, innovation, and high engagement? Cathy and Christina teaches us the essential 3Cs: three levels of transformation: changing ourselves, changing classrooms, and changing the world. With the 3Cs we create an environment that supports learning, foster creativity, and connect the content we learn to our lives. Beyond applying that content, we must also create a place where every individual has a voice regardless of their race, sex, etc. A place where students are not afraid of failure or getting to know their peers, and a place where they can disagree freely.

Overall, this event was very insightful, and a reminder for all of us to protect our academic individuality, to expand our work ethics, and apply these opportunities to our lives and become connected with variables being presented in our classrooms. Thank you Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr.Christina Katopodis for the amazing work and research you’ve put into this book.

We need a new college classroom

The September 7th meeting with Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis about their amazing book The New College Classroom was so informative. Prior to this meeting, I had not read the book, but after hearing their discussion about it I am eager to read it. At the beginning of the meeting when Chancellor Rodriguez was introducing the book, I already knew I would resonate with this book. I appreciated how the Chancellor recognized that students learn differently and how he wanted to grow a greater understanding of students. The value of empathy to grow a greater knowledge of the students and what they needed to have so they could bring their all to class was so comforting to hear. Hearing that this book is more of an ethical book rather than a book about teaching differentiates itself from other books or ted talks about the education system. 

The new college classroom provides a step-by-step manual for reimagining the classroom experience as an active citizen. The new college classroom offers students more than what today’s classrooms are giving them. It empowers students with creative problem-solving tools because that is essential in creating an inclusive democratic society in and out of the classroom. When Cathy Davidson started speaking about her book, I was stunned by the statistics she stated. Davidson stated, “We’ve had sociologists’ education who’ve gone around and found out that twenty percent of students graduate from college without ever having spoken in a class unless they were directly called on. That’s a tragedy.” 20 percent of students did not have the confidence to speak in class, and I say confidence because I too am a student that doesn’t speak in class. Professors are not always welcoming, and the classroom doesn’t feel like a creative space for wrong answers, which is why we need a new college classroom. 

Out with the Old

The illustration depict (unable to download creative photo) how people can come together no matter the race, religion or sex or faith. Learning takes team work and dedication from all ends of the spectrums that include teachers, administration, students and anyone who makes policies and rules in the education system. During The New College Classroom lecture by Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christine Katopodis it was said that the higher education need to change in order for the students to change and become better at their career. This is where it starts and begin to florish as students begin to to be efficient at their job. When asked what we liked most about teaching, it was learning the material given and perfecting the skills that will be taught to them. As history changes everyday its up to educators and administrators to change also. Learning and teaching work hand in hand as explained at the lecture. As educational leaders we must arm ourselves with information that students can take with them as they grow and learn in this society. I learned a lot at this lecture and how i can become a better tool and asset to my students.

The New College Classroom

I especially appreciated and learned a lot from The New College Classroom event as an aspiring student and professor. Even though the event covers a wide range of academic concepts, I would sum up its core message there is a significant difference in the educational system, which will aid students in whatever they decide to accomplish. The way that colleges teach is outdated. The listlessness of the lecture hall and the uneasy quiet of the seminar room would be all too familiar to a time traveler from a century ago if they landed in today’s schools. But we are aware of improvements. To demonstrate how teachers at all types of institutions may support students in becoming independent, creative, and active learners, Cathy N. Davidson, and Christina Katopodis, two of the world’s leading innovators in higher education, turn to the most recent research and methodologies.

In addition, I believe that the New College Classroom supports educators in all fields in developing a setting that is supportive of learning. Modern schooling and learning science research are transformed by Davidson and Katopodis into ready-to-use solutions that may be included in any course. At community colleges and research universities, on campus, online, and in hybrid settings, these empirically supported, classroom-tested active learning strategies—from the participatory syllabus and upgrading to grab-and-go activities for every day of the term—have produced impressive outcomes.

Active learning tools outperform traditional teaching strategies, according to a large body of research. Davidson and Katopodis give thorough case studies of educators effectively implementing active-learning approaches in their classes daily, guaranteeing that their students are better prepared for life beyond college. They also explain how and why their strategy works.

Dr. Christina Katopodis and Professor Cathy Davidson have collaborated. Both reiterated the value of education and the necessity of caring for students both individually and in groups.

To effectively support students’ learning and place the student instead of the course in the center of our planning, Drs. Davidson and Katopodis make the following remark.

I’ll conclude by saying that this is a fantastic opportunity, and I sincerely appreciate each one of them. The book and presentation by Dr. Christina Katopodis and Professor Cathy Davidson felt like a real stride into a new era of higher education.

Thank You,

Best,

Rayon(Ryan)

The New College Classroom

After I attened the extraordinary event that held by Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis, I would like to read the book The New College Classroom. This event is extremely revolutionary for the current college education. They proposed that college education should be differential instruction, according to different students’ learning styles or individual needs. And in the current college learning environment, professors talk a lot, and students engagement is not ideal. So our college education does need a revolution!

The New College Classroom gives us many special but practical teaching methods, and trigger us to think about how pedagogy should be changed according to “The People.” It also make me to think Why will we learn? Learning should be an enjoyful thing. First, because of curiousness, we would like to explore something. Then, with the process of learning, I want to know more about it, so we start to deep dig into it. At last, everyone would be an expert in one’s interested field. That should be the mission of education.

This event gives me an opportunity to think about What’s the most ideal education? And what’s the ultimate purpose of education? In my opinion, the ultimate purpose of education is helping students to find his/her life purpose. In spiritual perspective, everyone comes to the earth brings at least one life purpose. So as teachers or parents, we should let children to try everything he/she feels excited things, that’s the easiest way to find his/her life purpose. The ultimate purpose of education shouldn’t in order to increase income, accumulate wealth, or level up class because when you do the things really make you excited, you’ll do your level best, at last you must be successful, and income, wealth, achievement, and reputation will be also on their ways to you! This is very natural thing, it’s also the way of floating down the stream with the universe rule!

The New College Classroom: The Liberatory Potential of Active Learning

In celebration of the launch of their cutting-edge book The New College Classroom, Professor Cathy N. Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis, conducted a discussion via Zoom and in person on September 7, 2022 at 3pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Davidson, the founding director of the Futures Initiative and Senior Adviser on Transformation to CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, and Katopodis, a postdoctoral research associate, are two of the world’s foremost innovators in higher education, arguing that current modes of instruction in colleges and universities are antiquated and reflect outmoded methodologies, arguing for an overhaul in instruction reflecting the principles of active learning, using cutting-edge research to demonstrate how teachers at every kind of institution can help students become independent, creative, and active learners, rooted in developments in the science of learning and pedagogy. The event featured opening remarks from Chancellor Rodriguez and Graduate Center Provost Steve Everett.

According to Davidson, there are over 1000 research studies corroborating and supporting the techniques of active learning, pointing to the efficacy of such techniques in various educational outcomes. Davidson argues that active learning has the potential to shape a learning environment which is more equitable, more student-led, and more effective than traditional instructor-led lecture or question-and-answer discussion methods, even constituting a paradigm shift towards a model which invests trust in the students themselves, empowering them to take charge of their own learning. Another advantage of active learning is that it does not demand extensive knowledge in pedagogy on behalf of the instructor; Rodriguez shared personal anecdotes from his early career as an instructor of Caribbean women’s history that he was thrust into the classroom without any experience in a classroom setting or advanced training in pedagogy or education; the acknowledgment that most who teach on the collegiate level aren’t trained in pedagogy and don’t know where to begin is an eye-opening admission which helps build the case for active learning as the way of the future. Knowledge of different learning styles yields greater empathy and awareness of diverse student assets in support of the learning process; The New College Classroom marshals a plethora of empirical evidence-based arguments in favor of active learning across diverse educational settings and learning communities.

The New College Classroom makes ten overall arguments in favor of active learning and makes many suggestions on the macro and micro level for improving the learning experience, reflecting contemporary research and best historical practices of collaborative and participatory pedagogy. They provide historical context for how traditional lecture and assessment reflects the standardization of industrialization and its emphasis on streamlined methods, and seek to offer a model for creating effective learning environments of the 21st century, wherein collaboration serves as a basis for transformation in educating for the public good, a prevalent theme throughout the text, which argues that education truly exists for the betterment of society. Personal and social transformation is affected through learner-directed methods which create greater engagement, and which reciprocally can transform the world around us.I found the ethical and social dimensions of active learning to be most engaging and interesting, as explicated by Davidson and Katopodis. They argue that transforming the college classroom into one based on active learning will better serve the diverse needs of students of varying abilities, as the classroom is redesigned to suit the success of all students, modeling a more just, democratic, and liberatory society which empowers all learners, thus reducing or eliminating gaps in achievement, particularly for students who come from low-income backgrounds or from poor educational backgrounds with little prior methodological research training. Indeed, I was inspired by the liberatory themes embedded throughout the presentation and the emphasis on social justice; the thought of such luminaries as Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Toni Cade Bambara, and bell hooks were featured prominently throughout the presentation (and book), and incidentally, all were CUNY faculty. The process of active learning has the capacity to not only stimulate interest and active participation, but to also build upon such efforts to transform society and effect change, grounded in the notion that “the learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

In addition, the active learning methods endorsed by Davidson and Katopodis seek to utilize learning not as a means in and of itself, but as a means to prepare students for life and careers outside the classroom; active learning seeks to teach higher-order thinking skills which are marketable and desirable skills sought by employers, including proficiencies in collaboration, project management, synthesis and generalization from examples. Another means by which active learning seeks to transform the collegiate learning experience is by reclaiming and transforming the word “activity,” which is often associated with the elementary school classroom. Activities in the collegiate setting instead involve the pursuit of knowledge through independent exploration, critical thinking, explaining a concept to someone else or applying a newly acquired skill or method in another context, thus increasing engagement and fostering the transfer of knowledge to domains including the community, and individual lives and careers.

In conclusion, the new college classroom is geared towards a liberatory, justice-oriented pedagogical posture which is rooted in the principles of active learning. Such participatory methods allow students to take responsibility for their own learning and growth, offer real-world applications and the transferal of knowledge, skills, and capacities from the classroom domain to other domains in the student’s life, and equips students with strategic learning tools and research methods to dig deeply and to learn better answers for themselves in the classroom and beyond. Davidson and Katapodis synthesized the findings of hundreds of research studies to convey the importance of active learning in transforming the classroom and society itself in democratizing the tools which allow all students to succeed, rooted in contemporary findings regarding metacognition, guiding students to reflect on not just what they have learned but also how they have learned it, but also allowing for students to apply what they have learned in daily life, furthering the efficacy of such methods. In this sense, I believe that the active learning methods advocated by Davidson and Katapodis can further our awareness of oppression in learning; active learning methods can decolonize learning away from the outcome-oriented, industrialist, capitalist models of uniformity in learning and assessment, while fostering a sense of respect for and awareness of the various oppressive societal structures which foster institutional racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and the like which hinder learning. By democratizing learning, active learning applies an intersectional lens to the pedagogical process, empowering students to take charge of their own learning, while seeking to remedy inequities which continue to be a barrier to inclusion and learning.

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.

The New College Classroom

Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis held an extraordinary event for the release of their new book The New College Classroom. In which they talk about their changing methods of teaching.  Engaging with individuals in person and via zoom, they break down various reasons why the 19th century method of teaching needs to change and adapt new ways.  This will be beneficial to students as well as teachers.  Every student may have a different way of learning, some may benefit from working on their own, some may be person to person.  Teachers were able to express what they least liked about teaching and grading was number one. Less grading will provide more time on context stuff which will help and provide more time with students.  In the presentation they mention the word “unlearn” at one point.   Pertaining to things we may have learned in the past as the proper way of teaching, but with the progression of time teaching methods should adjust.  This reminds me of a book I read called Unlearn by Humble the Poet.  The book talks about providing essential tools to make us reach our full potential. We may have to unlearn things that were passed down to us.  Similar to what Professor Davidson and Dr. Katapodis are trying to do this with their new book.   

There were a few points that resonated with me and definitely should be addressed in classrooms today.  One topic they spoke on was the fact that she allowed her students to vote like a democratic system if they wanted to have a midterm or multiple assignments.  Allowing the children to have this option is something that I felt is genuinely caring.  With having so many deadlines in various classes and life it provides a sense of pressure for some students.  Not everyone works well under pressure and may want the one assignment as we saw in the presentation. Upon writing this myself today I have four assignments due today. Pressure starts to build and anxiety kicks in with the thought of having so much due in one day. 

 Providing students with feedback is essential to acknowledge possible weak points to which a student can work on.  We all can use feedback and should take it positively and not look at it in a negative manner.   

Another point on which they spoke on, students having the thought of  just needing to get by and pass a class.  Mentioning how everything learned in college will be used in our lives is a great talk to have with students. Because what I’m learning now is something I will need in my life journey.  My thoughts regarding math would be I’m never going to use this stuff in my life, until someone proved me wrong.  This happened to be a social media post I saw while taking a math class. There is a  simple linear equation  y=mx+b in which the post broke down.  Let’s say you see a job posting with a $500 signing bonus with a $18 a hr pay rate and you want to figure out how much you will make a week. By using the same linear equation you learned in math you will know what your weekly pay will be.  

We’ve grown as a society as we can see through technology.  We left VHS, tapes, and CDs in the past so it’s about time we leave the 19th century style of teaching there as well.

The New College Classroom

On September 7th  Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis held an amazing event to celebrate the release of their book The New College Classroom. I have not read the book but the information they provided during their presentation makes me want to read it. The topic of changing the way we think about higher education and changing the way we teach students, so they reach their learning goals, to be very fascinating. In all my years in school I never considered the topic of changing the way classrooms operate so during the presentations many moments stood out to me.

             Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez kicked off the event with a story about a time he was taking aback when a student asked for extra time on an exam and the Chancellor judged him a first. After that interaction Chancellor Rodriguez committed his life to learning how students learn and coming up with new ideas to support students with disabilities. This moment meant a lot to me because I am a student with a disability. Having an illness does a lot to your body and your mind. Professor may not understand what we go through but giving accommodations to students with a disability it allows us to have tools we need to perform at our best. The topic of supporting students, overall, is elaborated throughout the presentation.

            Students, from all backgrounds, can be uplifted in the classroom by using new learning and grading techniques. I learned that 19th century Industrial Age techniques have been dominating our classrooms for years so that style of education is outdated. Going forward it is important for us to recognize and understand that the environment we have presently in the 21st century must be accounted for. We are fighting against racism, sexism, ableism and fighting for inclusivity, empathy and recognizing that intersectionality plays a role in all college classrooms. In the classical college classroom professors give the lecture and then expect students to retain all that information but, more often than not. it does not happen. The presenters informed us that it has been proven that when students are involved, or in “in the driver’s seat”, of their own education they understand concepts better. I learned that this theory is called metacognition. By asking students their educational goals, considering how this class can benefit them and so on we get young adults to appreciate all the classes they take and not just half-heartly do it to get it over with. They will feel energized  because “people know the future they want; they just haven’t been asked”. This is a highlight moment for me. Everyone knows their needs and the goals they want to achieve in life but its never asked. People go through kindergarten to 12th grade without being asked who they want to be and how the educational system can help them get there. This pattern continues into higher education.  As one of the presenters said, “we’ve failed students”. There has been a growing population of young adults who don’t see the need for higher education because the current educational system does not support their highest good when it is not supporting them or has failed them.

                        All in all, I enjoyed being there for the event. The topic of creating a new college classroom has opened my eyes up to a lot of things regarding the current educational system in place.

We need a new college classroom.

The New Classroom 360 change!

College education is caught within the beyond. If a time visitor from a century in the past arrived on today’s campuses, they might understand most effective too well the listlessness of the lecture hall and the uncomfortable silence of the room. Yet we realize how to do higher. Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis,  of the arena’s most important innovators in higher schooling, turn to the modern studies and methods to expose how teachers at every sort of group can assist college students come to be impartial, innovative, and lively beginners.

Why is it a call action of doing better and ensuring the future of education? The New College Classroom enables instructors in all disciplines create an environment that is absolutely conducive to getting to know. Davidson and Katopodis translate cutting-edge studies in gaining knowledge of technological know-how and pedagogy into geared up-to-use strategies to comprise into any route. These empirically pushed, school room-examined strategies of active learning—from the participatory syllabus and upgrading to grab-and-cross activities for each day of the term—have carried out marvelous results at network colleges and research universities, on campus, on line, and in hybrid settings. 

This was a discussion i enjoyed a lot because as a student myself, when i first came to the country the learning style was different.in terms where the teacher would follow through a set of slides and read from there on but there would be very little interaction between student and teacher.As for in my country student and teacher interaction was a common norm and with that method the student learned better and quicker.Although here the system worked differently which it complicated some things for me.in the end i found ways to accommodate my learning styles and which worked for me which did not.

Best of,

Rose Hernandez

The New College Classroom

The event was honestly one that I truly enjoyed. The first thing that truly stuck with me was the example that Chancellor Rodriguez gave about his experience. I think it was significant to see the chancellor there and for him to show how he wanted to learn and change and actually be there, to me it took away a lot of my preconceived notions. This whole event took away a lot of my opinions. I saw how there is the idea of how to change things in education. It gives me hope for education moving forward. The main idea of this book is to reimagine learning and teaching for 21st-century students. I think that I haven’t felt this interest in change. I didn’t feel this as I was in DOE, but I do see hope for CUNY. I think covid truly messed things up and learning shifted to online and struggled to go back. Shifting at all shows that it’s possible, but definitely needs work. The pandemic showed that we can change education.

This book and conversations that were had in the seminar can bring it to new heights. In the poll in Zoom, they said they love to hear what students have to say in courses. This is interesting because I haven’t had many professors or teachers from that I felt that sentiment from. I think that I’ve had experiences where some professors just were upset, not many people talked so they barely asked or just talked all the time. I also agree with what Kathy said when she said that most graduate students were only taught seminars and not how to teach. I haven’t been in a course that hasn’t been a lecture or heavily not lectured. This is a great step on the way to truly changing how we learn and how we teach in the long run. I would love to see more than just a lecture for four out of five of my courses. I think variety in teaching and learning breeds new things that can truly elevate everything.

My reflections on the New College Experience

Professor Caty Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis they worked together to create a magnificent book to help visualize what teaching and education really is. Not only that I realize that The New College Classroom event is really informative and eye cache for anyone to understand that education needs to be our priority. In this event I learn many new points of views that not everything is how we see it but we have to see for the future not now for the future.

I really enjoy hearing Chancellor Matos because the way he speaks it’s inspiring because he uses himself as a vivid example of success. I really liked the phrase he said “Don’t be lazy and read because you can continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to be inspire and challenge in an innovative world”. That phrase is exactly true we as humans being tend to just limit ourselves by not expanding our knowledge and by not challenging our selves to keep progressing. That’s why I really enjoy being in the Future Initiatives because this platform helps you challenge yourself learn many new skills and meet new people which requires you to go above and beyond to expand your knowledge and interact with others. Also, like he mention he loves how the future initiatives focus on teaching and empowering the students and not only them but their community too such as the teachers and staff members. Which again that’s exactly true in order for a community to grow and prosper it requieres the entire village meaning its a team work for students to be successful and maxima their experience in this world.

This event also showed me that we don’t have to act with our first instinct because we don’t know if we could be losing an opportunity to keep learning or we could even close our own doors or others door. That’s why is essential we all act as agents to help other students and ourself how or what we can do to help other succeed in their education. At the same time staff members have to be an agent in order to little by little change the old education to todays modern education. Even more, this event for me made me think how can we transform ourselves into a better human being and better in education. I’ll say we’re like butterflies we all start from a larva which will mean we are all exposed to what education is and what we could do and then we end up in a cocoon which will mean we get to a point where our education could be plateau and we don’t find that enjoyment once again. But, then we end up like butterflies which will mean we receive events like this or books like these or we hear podcast or we study more and prepare ourselves more in education and we by the end see education as a different perspective. This event I’ll gladly say it transform my knowledge much more made me have a more explicit perspective of what education is and how we as future initiatives can help it become better. By the way I want to read these book because to be honest I will like to know why and how and where and what we could do to make education better for students and me.

The New College Classroom

The book launch for “The New College Classroom” was revolutionary and insightful. I applaud the mission of Cathy Davidson and Christina Katopodis. I want to stress on several aspects of the launch. First, the concept of “metacognition”, I did not know the definition of this word, and now I understand it to be how and why one is learning. As a student, it took me many years to realize how essential this is. One specific quote I want to emphasize on that was said and the launch is, “tell me and I won’t remember, show me and I forget, but involve me and I understand”. I’m currently 22 years old, and I have had class with so many people who absolutely hated school, but this launch made me realize it isn’t necessarily the students’ fault. It’s education in general. This launch made me see that learning styles can be tweaked in numerous ways to make sure that every student has the ambition to genuinely try in all of their classes, and succeed in their academic path.

Another segment of the launch I want to stress is their constant reference to the 19th Century. I like how the speakers continuously bring up this time period to explain that our learning styles are that old, and it is time for a change. What may have worked back then, most likely will not work now. We must keep evolving with the times that we’re in.

Lastly, I want to stress on when Cathy Davidson expressed that she knew a good chunk of students with the mentality, “I just need to pass this exam and then I’ll never think about it again”. This part specifically caught my attention because I must admit, I have been this student; and this launch has made me realize that that isn’t okay. Something isn’t right, and I know many of my peers who have this mentality as well. The book launch made me think how much of a shame that is. Learning is supposed to be life changing, an experience, not just something that “happened” to me.

There were several instances where I was listening to the launch and I found myself thinking of my own past experiences with teachers and education in general. For example, I’ve been at John Jay College for four years, and there were few professors who really left their mark on me. I can definitely tell when an educator genuinely cares about their students’ point of view, and when they are just trying to meet the department’s guidelines and get through the semester without adjusting anything at all for the students’ interests and passions. I distinctly remember one professor I had for anthropology; there were a few times during the semester when she gave us two options as to what we wanted to do to fulfill a certain course requirement. She also tweaked her due dates to assure that everyone would be able to meet them. At the end of the semester, there is a department survey for the professors that is sent out to all students. For this particular professor, she explained that she had another survey she wanted us to do as well. I asked, “another one from the department?” she said no. She said, “this is just for me. I want to know what you all found helpful this semester, what was not helpful, and what was challenging”. In the future, I hope everyone has educators like this.

My Reflections on The New College Classroom

I found The New College Classroom event to be extremely helpful and informative, especially as an aspiring academic and professor. Although the event covered a lot of different aspects of effective pedagogy, one phrase I would use to describe the main idea of the event “is shifting our educational system from ‘Subject (or Course) centered model‘ to ‘Student-centered model‘” (although none of these expressions themselves were used in the event).

What I here termed as the Student-centered model of education is what I believe to be the main idea that Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis have shared. Both reemphasized the point of education and the importance of catering to the students – not just as a group – but also individually. This idea stood out to me, especially in the example of lesson planning and syllabus writing, where most professors – despite doing it for the students – rarely have the student in mind and plan it according to what is needed to be taught as per the requirement of the subject. And here, Dr. Davidson and Dr. Katopodis point out how we should include the student’s interest in this planning to best help them learn and hence center the student instead of the course. This, in fact, reminds me of the class that I took at LaGuardia Community College for a Philosophy of Love class, where my professor only filled in the lesson plan for the first two classes and left it open for the class. She called it an open syllabus where she wanted us to fill in the topics we would like to study for the classes to follow – each of us being assigned a topic of our choosing for the specific class. And during those classes, we would be in charge of the class where we have an open discussion about the topic, with the guidance of the professor, who would learn with us. This class, I believe, is a perfect example of putting the student in the driver’s seat and the instructor only guiding sturdily – hence maximizing the learning that takes place. This makes the classroom much more dynamic – with both the students and the professor learning.

Another class I remember in which the professor employed some of the methods discussed was my Non-Fiction Creative Writing class. On the first day of the class, the professor announced that we would receive an A – if we turned in all the work. She said she didn’t want us to worry about the grade but rather enjoy the class and hone our creative writing skills, which to her is an art for us to express ourselves. This class, in a way, freed me from worrying about the grades and logistics of the class. I really got to enjoy the process of writing and attending the class. Overall it really was fulfilling and fruitful. Hence, attending this event just confirmed my experience of how successful this new proposed pedagogy is, both for the students and the professors!

The Thoughts of “The New College Classroom”

Why Ungrade? Why Grade?

After watching the book launch event, “The New College Classroom,” I was intrigued by the book, “Why Ungrade? Why Grade”? by the author Susan Blum. During the event, Professor Cathy Davidson referenced the book to the audience, which I found interesting and appreciated. In addition, she asked questions about how and why we should change the dynamics of learning and teaching between teachers and students. She shared with her audience quite considerable research and phenomena that indicated traditional teaching methods had declined in our contemporary time. Thus, I started to think about how pedagogy can be changed even though it has been stabilized for decades in our educational system. 

When I was reading some of the chapters of the book “Why Ungrade? Why Grade”? I recognized that grading and ungrading for students do not always have an absolute answer of wrong or right. Blum quotes, “because we invented it, we can uninvent it. We can remove it. And many of us believe we should.” She explicitly points out that humans make rules, and we can revise the rules. Also, grading is not a standard for analyzing students’ learning outcomes because it could be subjective from different professors. Another point that resonated with me was when Blum explained, “This shows that it is common for grades to be inconsistent, subjective, random, arbitrary.” She demonstrates that in different scenarios from different professors and teachers who grade their students’ papers, it turns out that the grades range from low to high scores in the same assignment that was assigned to students. This concept reestablishes and refreshes my perspective on grading and the notion of grading in what that means to teachers and their students. Moreover, teachers and students are in a dynamic system, meaning they reflect on each other and achieve their mutual goals together. I believe teachers’ only goal is to teach and give feedback to their students, and students receive and gain the outcome of the learning process. 

In one of my classes, my professor discussed how every student should have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives and that an A should be attainable by all, and his primary goal is to make his students realize that earning an A isn’t the goal, but rather learning the material is. He added that an A is just an alphabet letter for him, but what students actually learned from each assignment and reading piece is what he is really concerned about. I agree with his idea; grades are more like that they are inherently flawed and can stunt learning and overall growth. In school, students are responsible for studying and are required autonomy to be disciplined because teachers should only set them in their learning progress but not take advantage of them by manipulating them to do what they are not desired and ranking them with grades, which is not sustainable.

For this reason, students would maintain their lengthy period of studying for themselves, which is an example of self-determination, instead of enduring what they do not want and what they do not enjoy.

I would like to conclude with a concept from Deci and Rylan in the book: “Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior” that supports the claim that “the intrinsic motivation is maintained when individuals feel competent and self-determined.” According to Deci and Rylan’s belief about individual control among students, intrinsic motivation is acceleration for students to keep them motivated and self-directed so that they can strive on their own for competence. This concept of having an intrinsic ability to persevere is one I resonate with greatly and believe is essential to excelling in your studies but also within your life.

The New College Classroom

The New College Classroom

Isamar Brito

College students are changing. Higher education must follow suit. 

“The New College Classroom” is a book written by Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis imploring higher education educators to reimagine how students are taught and treated in colleges. At their book launch event, Professor Davidson and Dr. Katopodis review their book’s key strategies and their importance in academic spaces. 

Among the first concepts to understand about the modern-day classroom was that the classroom had been structured and based around the industrial age. The classroom had begun to reflect a need for efficiency rather than the need to breed an environment of understanding and learning. This underlying impact on higher education has remained embedded in the way in which college students are taught to this very day. And its existence poses a threat to the future of higher education as a whole. In order to combat this, the authors emphasized a need to not only transform their ways of educating but also transform society as a whole. Their strategies and overall ideology is focused primarily on catering to students directly. Making sure that no one gets left behind and that everyone has the opportunity to learn. 

Both Professor Davidson and Dr. Katopodis shared personal experiences implementing new and inclusive strategies for changing the classroom for the better. One story, shared by Dr. Katopodis, truly struck me as powerful. The approach she shared surrounded a collaborative effort to create a syllabus. She explained that she had gone with a majority rules approach to its creation. On one hand, students could vote for the option of doing a reading-based assignment a set number of times throughout the semester, and on the other were no reading-based assignments and only one midterm paper that would count heavily towards the student’s final grades. All but one student raised their hand for the first option. The one who hadn’t shared that it was too many due dates for them, a midterm paper would be better for them. Following this interaction, Dr. Katopodis revealed that her way of structuring syllabi changed. She realized that creating a more inclusive community meant creating more options. In particular, she emphasized the use of the word “or” is a great aspect of creating a great syllabus. Ultimately, what Dr. Katopodis decided was a syllabus that gave students the option to choose based on their needs. No one would be left behind this way.

Likewise, Professor Davidson shared an anecdote regarding a specific class of hers that seemed to deeply impact her. Along with a former Chancellor and President of the Graduate Center, she created a course that she vaguely recalls as “Future of Higher Education”. This course was student-designed and fully committed to ensuring that students were present and active in their own learning. It resulted in a course that was almost completely run by them. These students worked with undergraduates creating projects and activities that connected them to different communities and family members. 

Their approach zeroed in on inclusivity and really demonstrated a love for what they do. Seeing two people so dedicated to ensuring that their lessons and words have an impact on their students truly does give me hope for the future. A future in which professors across the nation learn to accommodate their students, include them, and send them off with the knowledge that they really did learn something. Even, as they had put it, the simple statement that you do not know is powerful in and of itself. The fact that a student is able to identify that is key to a step in a better direction.

 Professor Cathy Davidson and Dr. Christina Katopodis’s book and presentation truly did feel like a step into a new age of higher education.

The New College Experience.

The most memorable periods of a person’s life are both their school and college years, yet they differ greatly from one another. College life exposes us to a new world where we must learn new things and overcome new obstacles on our own, in contrast to school life where we learn everything in a safe setting. We attend school for around half of our formative years, so we become accustomed to it. However, college life is not forever until you want to, during which time we face new difficulties and learn valuable lessons. In contrast to how our instructors and friends constantly protected and watched over us while we were in school, in college we develop relationships with our mentors who don’t necessarily act in the same way. We don’t have as many restrictions in college as we do in high school, and we may choose how to spend our time there any way we like. In college, we meet new people and are immersed in a different environment where we must socialize. There, we meet new friends who become lifelong companions. We also can mold our professions by making wise choices and working really hard in school.

College life involves more than just academics; it also involves a person’s total growth through a variety of pursuits and difficulties.

One can choose their own path in college. Students can serve as class monitors while in school. An individual can nominate themselves for more important roles in college life, such as college president, vice president, secretary, and vice secretary. A person can develop his or her confidence through participating in many societies and activities that happen during the year, in addition to choosing the course and stream.

Everyone should enjoy their time in college because it is a great and important period in their lives. Our confidence to meet obstacles and struggles in the future is increased by the various lessons we learn from college life. It is important for students to engage in extracurricular activities and mingle as much as they can while in college because doing so will aid in their overall growth.

Best, Ryan

 

The New Classroom

The New Classroom written by Cathy N. Davidson & Christina Katopodis is a book aimed at changing the way educators teach and the way students learn in the classroom. I had the privilege of seeing this wonderful book unveiled at the CUNY Graduate Center via zoom, and I must say as a student myself the points made by Cathy Davidson & Christina Katopodis were surprisingly refreshing and cutting edge.

Side By side Comparison of typical classroom in 20th century verses typical classroom today, Not much has changed

The very first point that stood out to me during the presentation was the state of our American education system today, a key point highlighted was the fact that our education system has not really changed much since the 1800s. The current system is built around an industrial model and is not current or up to date with 21st-century methods. Indeed, as a student, I share similar sentiments as one of the main criticism of our current model is the lack of student-centric learning.

Student Centric Learning

Student Centric Learning

So, what is student-centric learning? As Cathy Davidson & Christina Katopodis highlighted in their presentation at the CUNY Graduate Center, student-centric learning methodologies revolve around the idea of active learning. Actively allowing students to engage in course materials via small group discussions and problem-based learning. There is a lot of research that backs and supports this modality of teaching which ultimately places the emphasis on students being responsible for their own learning and educators creating a conducive atmosphere to facilitate excitement around learning.

Inciting Learning

Another amazing point highlighted during this presentation is that the learning process itself can be “incited” Audre Lorde once said that “the learning process is something you can incite, really incite, like a riot”.  I found this statement to be very true and the book The New Classroom seeks to give educators the necessary tools to really ignite and spark the learning process. This would be huge as creating this spark in the learning process and catering to the various learning styles of students could really improve overall student performance and boast morale when it comes to pursuing higher education. The new classroom aims to not only change the classroom as we know it, but also aims to change the world as we know it

References

“The New College Classroom.” Harvard.edu, https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674248854. Accessed 26 Sept. 2022.

“Copy Right Free Student Clipart – Google Search.” Google.com, Accessed 26 Sept. 2022.

“Industrial Classroom vs Today – Búsqueda de Google.” Google.com, . Accessed 26 Sept. 2022.