As usual, I ask students for feedback after they have taken the first test, but before they have gotten it back. Below is what they have to say. Lots of interesting themes. I have to say that the “mindset” curriculum has huge pay offs in terms of student learning, student attitudes, and student self-awareness.
What do we do in class that is helpful for your learning? Why is it helpful?
The quizzes are good. They make me focus more on material now while its presented in class.
Making sense of the equations so they are easy to understand. It helps me to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Example problems reinforce the methods. Quizzes allow me to learn the right way approach problems and then test it.
Hands on problems help me understand. The way you explain everything throughly helps me learn fully.
Whiteboarding problems with group, rather than figuring it out on my own. It helps me sort through my confusions.
I love working in groups and being able to draw out the problem on the whiteboard. I tis helpful because I normally don’t ask a lot of questions.
I like talking through problems with my group.
Instead of just learning equations, you give us reasoning behind them. That makes sense to me and helps me remember them better.
This class is more than just a physics class. This class helps me to find interest in learning, even with things I don’t want to learn.
Practicing problems in class helps a lot. Practice makes perfect.
Working problems as a group, help me see if I’m making a mistake-both where and why.
I love that we over multiple problems to understand a concept. What also is helpful is when you have break into our groups and have us write out every step at the whiteboard.
The clicker questions. Practice problems with w/ walk by assessments. This increases understanding. Example plus group work are great, too.
Your enthusiasm helps me keep focused on the material. The biggest thing that helps is working through problems with others in class. This is helpful because it helps me work through difficult things with other and see how they work it as well.
Showing examples of how to work problems without just picking a formula and plugging in numbers is helpful, because it shows what the problem is really asking and what we are trying to do and why.
Group work is helpful because we learn from others.It is helpfuly because you can explain to others reasoning in finding solutions.
The labs that point of the dynamics behind most everyday objects like hover pucks.
Group discussion provokes thinking and gives us a change to develop our own answers.
The hands-on instruction and conceptual learning.
Practice problems and quizzes that are akin to test questions.
Group work is very helpful. Talking to other people helps solidify my understanding.
Working and learning how to problems on the whiteboards, and discussing during class.
This is a good lab and the info is clearly communicated.
Working in groups with whiteboards really helps me learn. Being able to discuss problems with other people helps me understand better.
I get more from working out equations in my group and being able to hash out ideas I’m struggling with.
Hands-on activities; it gives my brain time to digest what we just went over (e.g., the hover pucks)
You discuss topics outloud in class that changes my thought process, and then we work thru problems, both visually and verbally to solve and bring understanding to topics.
I like the hands-on projects.
What do we do in class that unhelpful for you learning? Why is it unhelpful?
Nothing is unhelpful. Maybe a few extra reminders about test formatting.
The quizzes hurt me when it comes to learning, but it’s not a big deal.
Labs. I know we have to do them. I just don’t feel like we are applying what we’ve learned when we do them.
I could benefit from would be some one-on-one tutoring, but I know that’s offered outside of class.
Explain more how to use the equations.
Sometimes we get off subject for too long-questions that have nothing to do with the assignment.
Quiz being taken in class. If we took them early, we would have an idea where we are before and after the lab.
I wish we went over the homework.
I wish the assessments were more difficult. I understand why they are what they are.
The “lab” lab part. Sometimes I feel that they are a waste of time.
The lab activities. I don’t get anything from them.
Sometimes we go really fast.
The actual labs aren’t helpful.
When you ask us to diagram a problem, annotate it, but don’t actually solve it. I feel like you stop the learning process for me half-way.
Annotating problems without solving them can get repetitive-more annoying them helpful
Sometimes I feel like I didn’t learn a thing, and have to wait for closure until the next class.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell me? Is there something on your mind? Or something we don’t do in class that you wish we did?
I sought outside help to determine exactly what force is. We still haven’t really figured it out.
We should have class outside more and do more hands on examples.
Before it gets cold, we should have class outside.
I don’t do well on quizzes. I know I need to do the homework and have a chance to digest the info to do better on quizzes.
You’ve been the most influential teacher I’ve ever had.
More group problems if possible.
I really do like this class, now that I have a better understanding of it. I just wish we didn’t have a quiz every class.
I recommend continuing talking about and teaching us about how to learn.
I wish we could do more group work.
More experiments and applications
I realize now that I need to learn more about how to learn effectively (for life).
I felt extremely prepared for the exam-very comfortable with the material. I am very glad to be in this class.
I like learning and doing a lot of problems and talking about strategies before the quiz. It’s hard for me to learn straight from the lecture notes.
Could we get some optional difficult problems to help understand and process more in depth. I always like a challenge.
We could use a little more time to complete the labs.
I want to know more about what you’re doing. I get snippets from the blog, but do you have a place where you write down and could share a day-by-day lesson plan?
So I’ve been doing a lot of planning by writing on actual paper, which makes it not super shareable. I’m not even sure if I scanned what I write down it would be useful for anyone else to see. Is there something specific you’d like to know more about, or something that stands out as possibly interesting? There are so many new things going on–both in terms of what happens in class and how I think about class that I don’t even know where to begin.
One specific question: What exactly is the “mindset” curriculum?
Yes ! that – that you just posted. — meaning, let’s say I think I need to cover constant motion and constant acceleration – I think your approach now is to explicitly talk about things other than motion and acceleration to get at what you see as the biggest difficulties in learning about motion and acceleration.
And how do you do that? And why are the students okay with it – it doesn’t come across as preachy or self-helpy, I assume. I observed an instructor yesterday who came across as condescending in explaining why students should do a certain thing (here, it was copy something word-for-word into their notebook out of the book – so it wasn’t that useful, but even if it had been, the tone was off). She might think she does what you do – but she doesn’t.
Hey Eric… I’m assuming it’s you. I use about 10-15% of class time doing activities and discussions centering on issues about learning and education. Sometimes this involves doing an activity that concerns learning that will drive discussion (like the marshmallow challenge). Sometimes we’ll watch a video about research on learning– we’ll often pause video at points to predict, vote, discuss. I sometimes just tell them about research (e.g., on praise), or seed discussion questions. My goals are to get students to re-think why they are in my class, why they are in school, what understanding is, and how meaningful learning happens, etc. The word mindset refers to Carol Dweck’s research on the role that students’ beliefs about the nature of talent and intelligence has on learning. There are a lot of physics teacher bloggers who have written about this, including Kelly O’Shea and John Burk. Their blogs can be found in my “blogs to read” page.