I am headed out to my next speaking engagement in about 11 hours and have way too much to complete before I call it a day, so this one is going to be very quick. It’s about that post I made yesterday.

Some folks may not care for the fact that I am suggesting that faculty who don’t make an effort to shift their teaching to active learning methods ought to face consequences for engaging in a breach of professional ethics. Actually a lot of people don’t care for that stance, and a few of them said so on social media. It may sound like I am advocating for groupthink at best, or at worst a kind of Nazi-like mentality where if you don’t believe what I believe, then off with your head.

That would be both a misreading of my post and a big-time overestimation of how much influence I have over other people’s teaching, which is identically zero. I am not a Dean or a department chair or a teaching/learning center director with some kind of authority over what goes on in the classroom. So when I go off like I did yesterday, this means nothing for you, unless there is some part of you that believes what I’m saying.

I would say this: Whatever method you choose for teaching, whether it’s IBL or team-based learning or POGIL or all-lecture-all-the-time, go ahead and do your thing.

But also do this: Gather formative assessment data on a regular basis and see what students are actually learning. Don’t try to base the effectiveness of your teaching on how much passion and verve you appear to bring to lectures; don’t base it on summative assessments where the data come too late for students to act on them; don’t base it on how many students talk in your discussions or how bright and bushy tailed they appear to be. Base it on data that you collect about student learning.

Then do this: Analyze your assessment data when you get it, and objectively decide whether your teaching is helping students learn. And if it isn’t, consider how you might change, and then make the change.

So in other words, go ahead and teach the way you think is right, but be a professional educator about it: If the data are supporting your method, then stick with it while seeking ways to get better. If the data are not supporting your method, don’t just stick with it and try it some more in hopes that student learning will improve. Make changes that support student learning.

Everybody would have to make changes to their teaching during a semester under this system because nobody is perfect. But my guess would be that the lecture-only people may get the strongest message.