I have written previously on not remembering much of anything about what I learned when was in college, and how it might be beneficial for instructors to start each course by telling students the one big idea that they should remember once the semester is over. Rob Weir, in an Inside Higher Ed column, has explored the concept in greater detail. He asked former students “What did I teach you?” Based on the responses he received, he has the following advice:
- Assign lively and provocative readings.
- Show students how to read the scholarly literature.
- Have students discuss what they read and construct arguments that are contrary to the beliefs they hold.
- Use unusual assignments to challenge students to apply difficult concepts.
- Define, review, and discuss terminology to develop a shared understanding.
- Sell what you do with enthusiasm.
There is much more food for thought in his column, including a video of Father Guido Sarducci demonstrating how little most people retain from their college educations.