Podcast Episode 42: Evidence-based Teaching With Bill Goffe

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Bill Goffe teaches economics at Penn State where he is both a consumer and a producer of evidence-based teaching. He is also an Associate Editor at the Journal of Economic Education. In this episode we talk about how to get the most out of the research-based teaching literature, how to use evidence to persuade your colleagues to change how they teach, and how to get started doing your own teaching-related research.

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Show Notes

0:00 Intro

0:40 Bill’s path towards scientific teaching: Carl Wieman, working memory.

4:36 Physics and the Force Concept Inventory–and the equivalent for economics (the TUCE). Lecturing doesn’t raise their economic knowledge very much.

8:02 Are we just asking them to memorize random information? They may be used to that kind of “pedagogy.” Employers want creativity and the ability to solve new problems.

12:08 Bill keeps up with the literature–even outside his discipline. But does it carry over?

15:17 Lessons from the podcast. Good teaching has a lot in common. “Innovation in teaching means using a method from another discipline.” Posters and vision boards.

17:51 “What Do College Seniors Know about Economics?” (Wallstad and Allgood, 1999) Ken Bain (“What the Best College Teachers Do”) is an amazing speaker.

21:18 Teaching like a scientist or economicst–vs. teaching like a scholar.

23:48 Common objections to changing your teaching–and constructive responses. “That’s a lot of work.”

26:50 Cupcakes and smiling. Being liked and organized. “How can the students learn by talking to each other?”

32:40 “The research isn’t relevant to me.” And: “The way I teach works fine for my classes.”

34:42 Higher ed can be very un-diverse. Teaching effectively reduces inequality. How do I start? Measure.

36:05 Organizing a course around questions. A nickel cup of coffee and Henry Ford’s minimum wage. Rapid feedback.

40:08 Engaging students with clicker questions. Looking at student eval comments. Making students partners.

41:36 Sharing what you learn about teaching through informal channels. Towards better teaching conversations.

45:45 Something that did not go so well in the classroom. When good clicker questions go bad.

48:03 Thanks and sign-off.