What I Learned This Semester

I think that it is good to look back each semester and reflect on what I have learned from teaching what I did. I have already made an ongoing record of changes that I would like to make next year written in red ink in the Instructor’s Copy of each experiment we have done. Sometimes I slip a page with an idea or two into the experiment folder to consider next time we do that experiment. This way the experiment evolves into something better each year even if we do the same experiment again. In my opinion, this ongoing evolution is a great advantage of customized labs. I also learn from my mistakes. For example, this year I ran into problems simply because I didn’t take attendance each lab period. I learn from my students. Student frustration with flow charts will encourage me to be more deliberate about them in the future. I learn from trying new things. This semester the biggest “new thing” was two days of laboratory done in “dry lab” format set aside for reviewing important topics related to past and future experiments. The session at the beginning of the semester looking ahead to the first sequence of four related experiments seemed to have very little impact on students. The session towards the end of the semester dealing with non-covalent interactions, solubility, and chromatography was much more worthwhile.

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One Comment

  1. Posted September 25, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Modifying labs each year is a GREAT idea! Not only does it help a teacher figure out what certain lab techniques students need more/less help with, but also to figure out what concepts students struggle with in the lab experiment. This post was really beneficial to me. Thanks!

    What I learned from yesterday’s titration lab:
    –Not having precise answers can help me learn that there are many different ways I can (and probably did) screw up in the experiment. =)


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