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MARGINALIA

Learning and Teaching Strategies

From personal experience and research comes advice on what works and why

Roald Hoffmann, Saundra Y. McGuire

Learning and teaching science challenges many students as well as instructors.

2010-09MargHoffmannFA.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageWe have been teaching and helping others to teach chemistry at every level—from high school teachers to undergraduate and graduate students to university faculty—for over four decades. From that experience have come a number of teaching and learning tactics that we find effective in facilitating student learning. Initially improvised, these strategies are more than gimmicks, for they have proven themselves in practice.

We’ve also sought out recent advances in cognitive psychology that give insight into why these approaches work. We’ve thought through why they are of use in any subject, not just chemistry. And we’ve also identified potential problems.

A potential injustice in our account is that credit may not be given to the real innovators. Frankly, we do not know where some of these strategies originated—in examples by others, or out of our own improvisations as we struggled to become better teachers. Many people have independently come to similar practices.

Some of what we write is addressed to teachers, some to students. This is deliberate. Cognizance of learning strategies benefits teachers, and awareness of teaching strategies can help learners understand the motives of teachers. Teaching and learning are a double flame.








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