Dr. McGuire’s talk was very informative and inspirational. The single biggest take-away for me was how to help our students with their reading. Material I teach in both my classes (anatomy and pharmacology) is not the easiest reading, and its is not enough to read superficially to sort of ‘get the idea’. It requires deep concentration, analyzing of the material, and, unfortunately, memorization of new terminology, each time. A simple suggestion she shared, to read each paragraph and try to put what is written in your own words, seems to offer the solution to prevent the mind from wandering away from the subject, to keep the attention, and to also decipher complex scientific texts. I actually tried this method myself and it worked for me. I will talk to my students about this type of slow, attentive reading and its benefits, and I hope it will be a very helpful strategy for them. This can be especially beneficial to our ESL students, who often do exactly that – read and translate the material, paragraph by paragraph – but instead of translating it in their own native language (which is absolutely not helpful) – they should ‘translate’ the text in a simpler, more manageable English.
Many of us also reflected on her suggestion to show the students Bloom’s Taxonomy and discuss with the students what level of learning is expected, and how our tests focus on the different types of learning. I think this is very helpful and I will do it with my new groups in the upcoming courses.