Cathy Roy is a DALChampion
- Tell me about your experience with DALC. What has been the best part?
I was introduced to the DALC through colleagues quite early in my teaching career, so the community has influenced my teaching trajectory enormously. Like many teachers, my initial teaching preparation was very much focused on content. What would I teach my students? This is an important question, but the DALC introduced me to a world where pedagogy and the “how” of learning was as important as the “what”.
One of the things I have appreciated about the DALC community is that it bends to meet the needs of its members and fellows, allowing itself to be defined by and flow with the interests, needs, and expertise of the group. The best part of this experience has been meeting and learning from so many different colleagues across different programs and disciplines. Seeing and hearing about other teachers’ experiences helped me to put theory into practice; these exchanges were not only a source of ideas for practical applications, but they helped build my confidence to try new things, learn from the mistakes of others, and to share my own learning experiences with other teachers.
- How do you think active learning pedagogy enriches the learning experience?
Active learning puts the students in the driver’s seat when it comes to their own learning. Instead of struggling to pay attention as they are met with a deluge of facts and concepts, they are guided through the content, interacting with real-world problems and practicing the skills that go along with solving them as they go. It taps into their natural curiosity & builds confidence as they try out disciplinary thinking and skills with the teacher guiding them progressively towards independence.
- How has adopting an active learning approach informed your practice?
The biggest shift/improvement in my teaching as a direct result of my involvement with DALC is better design and orchestration of active learning activities in my classroom. By “publishing” student learning in an informal and ongoing way, AL activities allow me to get into the heads of my students better, to understand their understanding, and catch misconceptions early, in order to know where to target my instruction and where to focus our conversations around the content.