Recorded: 29 Apr 2005
I already said one and that’s having high expectations for students. Another is that you can’t do it for them. So many of us, when we start teaching, we think what teaching is all about— [that it] is giving this beautiful lecture or organizing this experience in the laboratory. We’ve got it figured out and we want to hand it to students. But it doesn’t work like that. They’ve got to figure it out for themselves. They’ve got to struggle with the material. The struggle is part of it. I mean you can’t avoid that. So over the years my ideas about what is important in teaching has changed a lot. Now the way I look at it is that it is so much more what happens in the student’s minds than it is what is happening in front of the room. I think you have to design experiences that involve them with the material. Over the years, I have done more and more group work with students so they interact with each other. They’re discussing it. Part of learning is putting things into your own language. So they have to be talking about it or writing about it or doing it and not just passively sitting, listening.
Ann Burgess is the Director Emeritus of the Biology Core Curriculum. She earned her B.S. in chemistry from UW-Madison and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University. She was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 2002.
Biology Core Curriculum is four semester intercollege honors program that provides a broad and integrated background for students interested in any field of biological science. She is interested in undergraduate science education with a particular accent on laboratory and filed experiences that absorb students in process of science.
Ann Burgess is running in several UW-Madison and national efforts to advance science education, including the BioQUEST Consortium and the National Institute of Science Education's College Level One team.