Teaching to Promote Intellectual and Personal Maturity: Incorporating Students' Worldviews and Identities into the Learning Process

Teaching to Promote Intellectual and Personal Maturity: Incorporating Students' Worldviews and Identities into the Learning Process

Teaching to Promote Intellectual and Personal Maturity: Incorporating Students' Worldviews and Identities into the Learning Process

Teaching to Promote Intellectual and Personal Maturity: Incorporating Students' Worldviews and Identities into the Learning Process

Synopsis

Revealing that it is not what students think, but rather how they think that is important to the learning process, the contributors to this issue explore the full-range of cognitive and emotional dimensions that influence how individuals learn--and they describe teaching practices for building on these to help students develop intellectually and personally. They examine how students' unique understanding of their individual experience, themselves, and the ways knowledge is constructed can mediate learning. They look at the influence of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation in shaping the learning process and examine how to create a culturally responsive learning environment for both students and faculty. The issue also explores the role of service learning in developing a strong sense of the caring self, examines the opportunities and challenges of expressing cultural identity in the learning community, and offers various strategies for linking learning goals to students' views of knowledge. This is the 82nd volume in the Jossey-Bass series New Directions for Teaching and Learning

Excerpt

Helping students make sound judgments is a common
teaching goal for faculty members. This chapter explains
how students’ approaches to making judgments are
grounded in their assumptions about knowledge and
how it is gained.

Patricia M. King

Professors take great pride in encouraging students to think in more informed, subtle, and sophisticated ways. Cultivating good thinking is one of the most rewarding and important outcomes of teaching, for good thinking is a truly generalizable skill that students can use in many contexts beyond the confines of one course, one field of study, or one major decision. This is also a challenging undertaking. For example, consider the following exchange, which was overheard between a professor and a student in a history class.

PROFESSOR: Class, today we continue our discussion of the Renaissance.
This was such a remarkable era! It’s sustained my scholarly interest for my
whole career, and I hope you will find it equally stimulating and reward
ing to study. Before we begin, are there any questions from our last class?

STUDENT: Yes, I think I followed everything from last time, but I just can’t
seem to find in my notes when the Renaissance started.

PROFESSOR: Oh, that is a very good question! You see, the Renaissance in
northern Italy really took hold at a different time and in a different con
text than the Renaissance in the south. This is important because—

STUDENT (interrupting): Sir, I was hoping you could answer my question
before you got started today.

PROFESSOR: Yes. In determining when the Renaissance got started, it’s also
important to recognize that this “awakening” covered many aspects of
people’s lives. Why, the scientific Renaissance and the ideas of Leonardo
da Vinci had such tremendous potential, made ever richer by the emer
gence of the artistic Renaissance and artists such as Michelangelo and

STUDENT (interrupting and now irritated): Sir! Before you start today’s lec
ture, could you please just state when the Renaissance began?

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