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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Teaching majors biology better: think non-majors biology

Is teaching majors biology just brain-jamming?

In my own little sphere, I’ve been fascinated by some of the contrasts between design and delivery of majors vs. non-majors biology courses. Non-majors courses are subjected to thoughtful cherry-picking: “What is most relevant to student lives or futures?”, “What has ties to society and their interests”, “What can we successfully convey in the allotted time?”. On the other hand, in teaching majors biology, I think there is a lot of pressure for the ‘kitchen sink through a fire hose’ approach: ‘everything’ must be force-fed to students at whatever pace necessary to get it ‘into their heads’, and there simply isn’t time for the extravagance of relevance or interest. I propose that teaching majors biology more along the lines of non-majors biology can make our students more interested and provide them with more  knowledge and understanding when we’re done.

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