The New International Studies Classroom: Active Teaching, Active Learning

By Jeffrey S. Lantis; Lynn M. Kuzma et al. | Go to book overview

1 Active Teaching and Learning
at a Critical Crossroads

Jeffrey S. Lantis, Lynn M. Kuzma, and John Boehrer

Active learning and interactive teaching methods are receiving greater attention from faculty who are reconsidering both the process and product of instruction in higher education in the post–Cold War era. Instructors and administrators have recognized that the classroom environment, the nature of social scientific inquiry, and the orientations and interests of our students have changed in the late twentieth century. At the same time, the global political system has undergone a dramatic transformation, prompting those in higher education to review and rethink the international studies curriculum.

This book captures the spirit of change in international studies education by providing a critical reexamination of our method, process, and technique of instruction in the post–Cold War era. In a 1995 article, Robert Barr and John Tagg described this transformation as a move from the traditional, lecture-oriented instructional paradigm to a new learning paradigm. The learning paradigm is a holistic, student-centered approach designed to “produce learning,” develop critical thinking skills, and elicit discovery and the construction of knowledge.1 Barr and Tagg argued that this approach creates powerful and effective learning environments, and they made a convincing case that such a transformation in approach is both appropriate and necessary.

Debates about the best means of instruction in international studies have played out in a variety of interesting forums, including Internet discussion groups devoted to teaching, panels and special conferences supported by the International Studies Association, and

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