Critical thinking is the most overused term in higher education.
There are several types of thinking, of which critical thinking is but one. It might not be the most important one (anyone here want to speak up for creativity, imagination, reflection or practicality?). But academics (who should know better) have latched on to it as the be all solution to everything in higher education teaching and learning.
Someone passed along a link to this infographic on critical thinking. It’s ok.
Courtesy of: Mentoring Minds
by David Albrecht
I really like my Intermediate Accounting 2 classes this semester at USC Upstate. I have a section of 23 at the main campus in Spartanburg, and a section of 5 at the satellite campus in Greenville.
Throughout the semester students were aware that I was being forced to leave USC Upstate and I was out looking for a new job.
Today in Spartanburg I told them I had accepted an offer, and the students applauded me! It surprised me, and I didn’t know how to react. But I felt respected, appreciated and loved.
Other events in the class? Nicole brought a big bowl of lemon blossom treats to share with the class. Fabulous.
And, I returned graded mid-term tests. Twenty of the 28 earned a grade of A, and five earned a B. I then applauded the students for a job very well done. I am so proud of them. I have raised my grading standards, and these USC Upstate students have responded in a very impressive way.
By David Albrecht
It’s official, I’m a flipper. The Accounting Today commented on my work in flipping the classroom. I’ve been doing it for years, predating the 2007 figure in the image below. In this post, I explain what is flipping the classroom.
What is a flipper? I’m not talking about the dolphin named Flipper. Nor am I talking about a 1920s flapper, nor a basketball flopper.
In a flipped classroom, students study theory at home and come to class for the how-to. To give the students the theory (and the why), professors digitize their lectures (usually via video or audio). Students are supposed to study these.
Now to present an infographic by Knewton that does a fine job of summarizing the approach.
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media
Flipping the classroom works well in college, and it works great in collegiate accounting courses. It is the foundation of my becoming a master teacher.
by David Albrecht
A couple of issues with respect to grades have been discussed in the office this past week. Combine this with the lateness of the semester and student concern about their grades, and it’s appropriate for me to reflect on the meaning of what my grades mean.
Some of my students are bound to be interested in what I think.
I am a learner-centered teacher whose focus is on students acquiring skills to take into the future. I am not a content-centered teacher whose focus is on learning facts and content for the next test, something that will fairly quickly be forgotten. A research study confirmed that my students have a deeper understanding of processes, skills and what it means to learn than other accounting professors in Ohio.
I emphasize that students should study until they fully master the material. Just this week, a student from summer 2012 told me that he still retains the skills from the class. While at Bowling Green State University, a student confided to me that she was amazed at the amount of skill she still possessed two years after studying the accounting for leases in one of my courses. I’ve received so many dozens and dozens of comments from former students about their ability to apply what they learned in practical settings, that I no longer doubt it.
My goal is for students to master skills (that require current knowledge) to such an extent that they should be able to use those skills in the medium range future. If it’s like the skill of riding a bicycle, the retention could be for a fairly long term.
My tests contain questions of the type, “Work this problem to show me you possess a certain skill.” The problem is designed highlight the application of skill. If students work the problem correctly using the appropriate skill, then they get full credit for the problem. I’m not afraid to draw a huge X over a student’s work and write, “No!” Of course, my classes are structured so as to give students copious practice in learning each skill.
- The grade of “A” requires excellent performance. Exam scores are perfect or nearly perfect. Because skills can be mastered (albeit with a heavy amount of practice), perfect scores are attainable. Grades of A in general are attainable, but it takes much work to attain the necessary skill. The grade of A means success in taking the test. All other grades show a degree of failure.
- “B” means less mastery. There is either a persistent pattern of very small errors on most test problems, or four of five problems show perfect skill and the fifth shows a significant error. The grade of B means a failure in part. No student should be happy with a B.
- “C” work shows failure to master some skills. There is success in mastering a majority of the skill areas with significant failure in less than half the skills. C work frequently has small errors on almost all skills. “C” stands for competent much of the time, but not all. Students should be embarrassed to receive a C.
- “D+” work means that a student shows success in mastering a majority of skills, but the degree of master is slightly lower than for C work. I no longer assign many grades of D, as I don’t think those students should be passed on. Most near misses now receive the grade of F. D work means sugar-coated failure.
- “F” work means the skill level is unacceptably low. I can’t in good conscience say that a student is competent.
The final course grade represents my judgment of the big picture. Test scores and project scores inform my judgment, but the grades don’t necessarily add.
by David Albrecht