Failing just hard enough to learn [Learning & Teaching / Riding higher waves Pt. 2.1]

This post is another reflection on the relationship between teaching and self-directed learning. It focuses on how to find a balance with making learning too hard or not hard enough. Thus the title: How can we deliberately make ourselves and/or our students fail just hard enough to learn? Context: I just found this post in the huge number of unfinished drafts in my WordPress. It was almost done, supposedly from early fall 2021. Some of it are reflections on my own (online) teaching in the summer term of 2021. I thought this was an interesting reflection still, so I decided to fix it up a little and post it now, despite the text not being “new” and some of my thoughts on my own teaching having changed over the last year where I have been teaching more than before as a Postdoc. Because the draft of this post was already so long and got a little longer with some 2022

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Riding higher waves

At the risk of boring you all with my frequent thoughts on better teaching, I wanted to give you another metaphor on good teaching, inspired by a surfing class I took. To sum it all up, surfing was great fun. But this year, I was a bit unfortunate to get teachers who were a lot worse than the ones I’d had previously. The high waves and the shallow water make for good metaphors for the basics and the advanced topcis I frequently drone on about in my philosophy of teaching well. So, there you go. The shallows and the high waves The teachers were over-protective of us in the shallow waters. They helped more than we would have needed help and thereby, didn’t teach us to act independently. I wanted to do so, but it was not encouraged and we weren’t given any instructions on how to catch a wave on our own. They wouldn’t even let us paddle onto

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