Student Teaching in Music: Perspectives for a Successful Experience (Collegiate Book 5)

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Effective learning is active learning. The concept of active learning has been applied to curriculum design, internship programs, community service, laboratory science instruction, musical and speech performance, seminar classes, undergraduate research, peer teaching, and computer-assisted learning. The common thread between all these events is to stimulate students to think about how they as well as what they are learning and to take more responsibility for their own education.

By knowing what you know and do not know gives a focus to learning. In order for students to benefit from courses, they need appropriate feedback on their performance. When starting out, students need help in evaluating their current knowledge and capabilities. Within the classroom, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. Throughout their time in college and especially at the end of their college career, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

The importance of feedback is so obvious that it is often taken for granted during the teaching and learning process. It is a simple yet powerful tool to aid in the learning process. Feedback is any means to inform a learner of their accomplishments and areas needing improvement. There are several different forms that feedback can take.

They are oral, written, computer displayed, and from any of the interactions that occur in group learning. What is important is that the learner is informed and can associate the feedback with a specific response. Learning needs time and energy. Efficient time-management skills are critical for students.

Allsup, Randall E. (rea10) | Teachers College, Columbia University

By allowing realistic amounts of time, effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty are able to occur. The way the institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other staff, can create the basis for high performance from everyone. An easy assumption to make would be that students would be more successful if they spent more time studying. It makes sense but it over simplifies the principle of time on task.

Student achievement is not simply a matter of the amount of time spent working on a task. Even though learning and development require time, it is an error to disregard how much time is available and how well the time is spent. Time on task is more complicated than one might assume. Expect more and you will get it. The poorly prepared, those unwilling to exert themselves, and the bright and motivated all need high expectations. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high standards and make extra efforts.

Although it is often only discussed at the instructional level, high expectations also includes the students' performance and behavior inside and outside the classroom. College and universities expect students to meet their high expectations for performance in the classroom, but also expect a personal and professional commitment to values and ethics. They include the discipline to set goals and stick with them, an awareness and appreciation of the diversity of society, and a philosophy of service to others.

There are many different ways to learn and no two people learn the same way. Students bring different talents and learning styles to the classroom. Students that excel in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio and vice versa. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then, they can be guided into new ways of learning that are not as easy for them.

The meaning of diversity is very clear from effective institutions. They embrace diversity and systematically foster it. This respect for diversity should play a central part in university decisions, be apparent in the services and resources available to students and resources available to students, be a feature of every academic program, and practiced in every classroom.

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Walker Center for Teaching and Learning. I fully acknowledge that there is both a legitimate diversity in ways that a professor can run a good class, and also a variety of learning styles in our students. A good lecture will typically incorporate discussion. Furthermore, some material lends itself better to one format as opposed to another. Similarly, there are different learning styles among our students.

Some are bored silly by lectures and respond better to a more interactive classroom experience. For some students, and I was one of them, nothing was better than, and nothing moved me as much as, a great lecture by a learned professor. I loved the sage on stage, and I suspect that a certain percentage of our students do as well.

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I will make a stronger, and perhaps more controversial claim, that among those students that prefer and benefit from a good lecture, are a high percentage of our better students. We look around the room. We were all the better students in our classes. And I bet a high percentage of us were inspired, both as undergraduate and as graduate students, by the superlative lecturer, the one who captivated us with his or her erudition, and had the presence or personality to successfully convey that. I had one professor who was especially gifted, who greatly moved me and others, and I will be talking about him shortly.

We often at the college speak of the transformative power of a liberal arts education. We less frequently ask the question, what precisely is this transformation, and how is it best achieved? One of my principle teachers, Stanley Rosen, had this to say of one of his principle teachers, Leo Strauss. This is something that does not come from reading books, but only from direct contact with a great teacher.

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Let me try to explain what I think Rosen is talking about by recounting my experiences with a particularly great teacher, David Lachterman. Lachterman was hands down the most brilliant, erudite, and perhaps most importantly, eloquent person I have ever encountered in life. I remember being dazzled by his lectures, sitting in class mesmerized with a smile of delight on my face, as he wove together six or seven seemingly disparate strands of thought into a coherent, profound, and indeed beautiful whole.

Wonder, Socrates also tells us, is the feeling of the philosopher. David was a master of creating that feeling of wonder in his students. What I and others encountered face to face with Lachterman was a rarified instance of intellectual excellence, an extraordinary mind on display in an extraordinary fashion.

And it was not only an intellectual experience, but was what I can only describe as an intellectual aesthetic experience. For above all, David was a master storyteller, and what he told were utterly fascinating philosophical dramas, where the protagonists, rather than being Hamlet and Ophelia, were ideas, whose origin was Aristotle, Hegel, and others. An intellectual work of art was being created and displayed before my very eyes and ears. And it was beautiful. For what was opened?

What was re-attuned? My soul, if you will, reoriented to the world of the intellect. But as if by osmosis, something much more important happened than retaining information. I learned how to read philosophical texts. I learned, if you will, how to think and be thoughtful.

And in some difficult to articulate way, my internal life became richer. I bet most of us, we future professors in the top tier of our undergraduate classes, had a David Lachterman who touched us in a similar manner. But let me return to the transformative element of such experiences. Here Socrates tells us that the effect of the rhapsode on his or her audience is akin to the effect of a magnet on adjacent pieces of iron.

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The power of and quality of the magnet is transferred to the pieces of iron; they too become magnetized, and inherit the qualities of the magnet, simply by virtue of being in the presence of the magnet. This was precisely the effect David had on his students. We too became magnetized if you will, transformed through his philosophical rhapsodies, through experiencing first hand and internalizing his intellectual excellence. And with that, intellectual excellence began to germinate in us as well. I wanted to be like that, and more importantly, by virtue of this exposure, I began to be like that.

For the exposure to his intellectual excellence led to the internalization of his intellectual excellence. I experienced what it was to be thoughtful and began to become thoughtful through that experience. A short story about my youngest son, Jack. Jack graduated from Holy Cross two years ago. His favorite class was a class on Islam. He has no interest in Islam, not before the class and very little after the class. But the course was apparently taught by a great teacher who exclusively lectured. And Jack says he was absolutely enthralled by the lectures. He described them as utterly fascinating, and said it was better than watching the best movie.

For like me, Jack too was introduced to the beauty and richness of thought. The repeated exposure to such thoughtfulness, to me, is what it means to be educated, not how many facts about Islam you may have retained from the lecture. A good lecturer, like Lachterman, will always pause, and take, and most importantly, pose questions.