Bryce H. Lane The Art of Science Seminar Review

Creating a positive teaching environment was the main theme of Emmy-award winner and professor at North Carolina State Bryce H. Lane’s presentation “The Art and Science of Teaching” given to a group of 200-300 students and teachers on Thursday in the Little Theater of the Student Union at K-State.

Lane was told part-way through his teaching career that students won’t remember the lessons taught, instead they will remember how they felt around the teacher.

“It hit me like a brick. Personality does matter. Commitment does matter,” Lane said.

“The key to good teaching is developing an environment where we take advantage of and create a dynamic interaction,” said Lane.

Lane said the first important step in creating this environment is getting students’ attention. Students are able to figure out in the first 15 minute if teachers are not passionate about their business according to Lane.

The most important step, Lane said, I creating a sense of awe. “Make students have a romance with what they are learning,” Lane said. Every student learns, they just decide what to learn.

Creating a romance before teaching then leads to the willingness of students to go through the precision and drudgery of learning which leads to application of what was learned, which in turn leads to more romance of the subject.

“It becomes a cycle; at that point the teacher can just sit back and watch them go,” said Lane.

Lane asked the audience, “Would you rather your students remember 10% of all you taught them or all of 10% you taught them?”

When asked in an interview how she would answer the question, Kim Williams, co-chair of the Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence said, “It depends on whether you’re talking about short-term or long-term memory. Short term, my students have to master more than 10%, but that knowledge becomes a foundation on which to create other knowledge. So in the long-term, years and years later, after they’ve got gobs of knowledge created and reinforced by their own experiences, if they remember 10% of what they learned in my classroom, I’d say that’s fabulous.  And I think that’s what Lane was talking about.”

Another way Lane said teachers can create the positive environment is by getting to know students and allowing students to get to know the teacher.

“It is important to know what they were born into that we learned about or what were invented before they were born so that we don’t talk to them in a way that is completely foreign,” said Lane.

Lane said the best way to show students that teachers care about what they are doing and care about their students is to come early to class and stay late.

“You don’t have to be awkward about it and just stand around; you don’t even have to make conversation. But you hear the coolest stories and get the latest gossip. And if you hear something that makes your skin crawl, get over it,” said Lane.

The last way Lane said to create the positive learning environment is to be student centered.

“Students respond to those of us who care for them, care for our subject matter, and care for what we’re doing- teaching,” said Lane.

Caring for students and being flexible, creative and positive reduces anxiety in students.

“If you’re not going to learn it my way, we’re going to find a way to learn it that will work for you,” said Lane.

Lane surveyed students in his classes at North Carolina State to find out what they think make a great teacher. Lane said it seemed pretty unanimous that organization, knowledge, clarity, ability to stimulate and most of all enthusiasm were the characteristics.

“To be a great teacher you don’t have to be like this and this. No, to be a great teacher you have to be like you. All too often we try to be like blank when we really need to be like ourselves,” said Lane.

When asked if the presentation was beneficial to teachers and if the information and advice given would be applied in classrooms, Williams said, “I do. Seasoned teachers who have pursued professional development opportunities in the past may have been familiar with a lot of the ideas presented, but Lane was gifted as providing examples and inspiring implementation in practice. That’s an important word–inspire.”

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