JP Advis DVM, Ph.D.
Professor
Bartlett 102
(732) 932-9240
advis@aesop.rutgers.edu

The following ten tasks have been outlined (by Marilla Svinicki PhD, Director of the University of Texas Center for Teaching Effectiveness) for students in classes that use active learning. An 11th task as been proposed (by Dee Silverthorn PhD, physiology professor, University of Texas, Austin):
1.
Make the switch from an authority-based conception of learning to a self-regulated conception of learning. Recognize and accept your own responsibility for learning.
2.
Be willing to take risks and go beyond what is presented in class or in the text.
3.
Be able to tolerate ambiguity and frustration in the interest of understanding.
4.
See errors as opportunities to learn rather than as failures. Be willing to make mistakes in class or in study groups so that you can learn from them.
5.
Engage in active listening to what is happening in class.
6.
Trust the instructor’s experience in designing class activities and participate willingly, if not enthusiastically.
7.
Be willing to express an opinion or hazard a guess.
8.
Accept feedback in the spirit of learning rather than as a reflection of you as a person.
9.
Prepare for class physically, mentally, and materially (do the reading, work the problem, etc…).
10.
Provide support for your classmate’s attempts to learn. The best way to learn something well is to teach it to someone who doesn’t understand it.
11.
Do not panic. Pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone is scary but you have to do it in order to improve.

Two thoughts on which all my courses are based:

A.
Since memorization will only bring you so far in graduate and professional schools, students need to learn strategies for when memorization is inadequate. They should learn to gather information from books, rank it, critically assess it and, finally, learn to communicate this information in an oral and written fashion, adequately.
B.
Faculty should point to basic ideas upon which students may build further, should always provide help to students requesting it, and should teach them how to think logically. However, faculty should not think for the students and / or give them a digested version of the material so that they could just memorize it. Thus, faculty should teach students how to ³fish² but not ³fish² for them. Faculty should ³push² students beyond their comfort zone so they can learn what they are capable of doing, and learn how to know themselves further. Finally, faculty should show students how to learn in an active fashion since
³You can not teach anybody anything.
You can only create the conditions for them to learn.
(E. Redish)²