Changes in Lecture, Discussion(Recitation) and Labs:
Reinforcement of Desired Student Behaviors and Barriers to
Initial Behaviors in the Lecture, Recitation and Laboratories
|Students' Initial Expectations of Learning Behavior
||Desired Learning Behavior
||Reinforcement of Desired Behaviors & Barriers to
- Some students attend lectures to clarify the
reading in the textbook. They expect to sit
passively and take notes on important facts and
formulas that they will process (memorize) later.
- Some students attend the lectures to make sure
they don't miss any important announcements and
hints for the next test. They listen sporadically
while reading the paper or studying for another
course. They expect that everything they need to
know is in the textbook.
- Some students do not attend the lectures. They
expect to be able to read and memorize the
important facts and formulas in the textbook just
before an exam.
- Students will actively process information,
continually comparing their own intuitive ideas
with those being developed by the lecturer.
- They will only take notes on issues they wish to
think more about later.
- Students are encouraged to talk softly to their
neighbors during the lecture to check their
understanding of the new concepts or
- The lecturer occasionally stops talking and asks
students to individually write down a prediction
of the outcome of a demonstration, the answer of
short qualitative question, or results for a step
of a problem solution.
- Students participate in small ad hoc cooperative
groups to compare their predictions about the
outcome of a demonstration, their answers to a
qualitative question, or their problem-solving
- Written predictions or answers to a question are
occasionally collected for grading.
- The lecturer prepares overheads which are
photocopied and available for students to
- Students expect TAs to answer specific questions
about the solution of specific problems which
they find difficult.
- After the first few sessions, most students stop
attending because their questions are not
addressed (there is insufficient time to answer
15 - 20 different questions).
- Students will be actively engaged in refining
their logical problem-solving techniques.
- As they try to solve written problems, students
will recognize when their intuitive conceptions
- Students are provided a supportive
cooperative-group environment so they can solve
context-rich problems. TAs circulate among the
groups to provide coaching as needed.
- About three times a quarter, one of the
cooperative group problems is turned in and
counts as one test question.
- If a student is absent from the previous
recitation session, he cannot take the group test
problem and he receives a grade of zero for that
- During labs, students expect to passively follow
a clear step-by-step laboratory procedure to get
a predetermined result.
- Students expect lab instructions to contain all
necessary information so that they do need to
prepare for a lab.
- Students will prepare for each lab by reviewing
the appropriate sections of the textbook and
connecting the concepts of the lab to the
- During the lab, students will be actively engaged
in using fundamental concepts and principles to
solve concrete, experimental problems.
- Students will recognize when their intuitive
concepts disagree with the way the world works.
- Students must pass a short lab preparation test
before they can participate in the lab.
- Students must make individual predictions of the
behavior of the system under investigation before
the lab. The TA checks predictions during the
- The labs are designed so students must make many
decisions: predict results; qualitatively explore
the physical behavior of the system to check
predictions and the range of the apparatus; and
plan precise measurement and analysis procedures;
- Students are put in a supportive
cooperative-group environment so they can compare
their individual predictions and collectively
make the required decisions. TAs circulate among
the groups to focus students' attentions on the
comparison of their results with their
predictions and provide coaching as necessary.
Minnesota Model for Large Introductory Courses