Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Unlearning Revisited

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Unlearning Revisited

Article excerpt

It has been close to a year and a half since I listened to the learning guru Jack Uldrich talk about higher unlearning. I was never more influenced by a speaker than I was by Uldrich. Prior to reading his book, I had aspired to being a chief learning officer, but he so revolutionized my thinking that I now aspire to be a chief unlearning officer. Why? Because Uldrich does far more than admonish us to think outside the box. He asks us to think differently (Uldrich, 2011).

I have tried to put several of Uldrich's lessons to work in teaching my classes, sometimes with great success and sometimes with great failure. I think that many of his lessons deserve attention as we in nursing education try to refine our nursing education pedagogy and strive to make sense of our past and our future in a changing health care environment.

So, what has worked? One of his clear lessons is that "it is OK to be in love with what you do, but not how you do it." I have thought about this often, particularly as I teach the same course for the 20th or 30th time. I need to shake up the content, to maintain my passion as I try to excite my students.

One change I have made is to let students set the parameters of class meeting times and design projects that fit their learning needs, not projects that I am interested in for evaluation purposes. Of course, all of this meets course time requirements and is done within approved course objectives. But flexibility is introduced according to the background and skills of the students. And, importantly, students design assignments that are far more rigorous than what I might have imagined.

I admit that I'm not sure how I would shake up the learning in a basic education course; all of my current teaching is at the graduate level. …

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