I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn- Albert Einstein
“The Prove Me Wrong” approach according to my analysis, is an approach that allows for engagement with empirical work of other thinkers, thought experiments, and the birth of new theories that could better our understanding of an idea. It, therefore, engages students in effective and productive life-long learning.
In my experience as a college student, and in most of the classes I have taken since my first year, 90% of my colleagues, including myself often only possess a surface level understanding of the material.
It is difficult for any student to truly or enthusiastically engage with the new and unknown material without having some prior understanding of its real-life relevance, and some basic background information before launching into in-depth explanation and details.
Currently, most modern education is based on strict memorization which has been allowed to supplant a productive method that has helped humans flourish since the Stone Age. Abandoning the process of inquiry, we, therefore, have participated in, to put it in modern terms, ‘a thousand selfies on the same spot’.
Students need to know the worthiness of knowledge and understanding, which is a great incentive to encourage and further learning at every stage of life.
The Prove me wrong Approach in action simply states the following
- That for all new material, teachers are obliged to set a foundation of the idea; the inventor, his/her position, its relevance and application to human well-being, and so on.
- Highlight the position of critics who oppose the idea.
- An important step- Ask Students to either ‘defend’ or ‘oppose’ the first position (source of the idea).
I would recommend that this approach is utilized from the very first lecture.
- Ask the students to do a background check on the idea and decide by next class, what position they hold. On this day, students should articulate their position (to defend or to oppose) in a written document.
Teachers are obliged to segment the topics and to distribute them at the second lecture. Lastly, set days for students to make their arguments.
Allow both positions during the lecture. I would recommend teachers giving a slight introduction at the beginning and a prepared set of questions for each group as they make their argument.
To summarize, our education as a species has not thrived in instructive thinking but exploratory and collaborative thinking. We have a huge gallery of empirical knowledge set before us. We have an open space for additional intuition to fill in the empty blanks.
“The Prove Me Wrong” approach, I believe, will produce tangible, positive changes in student’s attitude to learning and their success.