My firm belief is that students can and should take an active part in the study process. During their courses they should be not passive listeners but rather active developers of new ideas. At Eugene Lang College such practice is common. At Lang students may even influence the course outline suggesting innovative approaches which is beneficial for both, the college and the students.
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As far as I am concerned, I would also like to participate in the process of accumulating new ways. Thus, I have two suggestions as for the class outline. In the first place, the majority of classes should be devoted to specific practical issues. For instance, students should get acquainted with common problems which students are likely to face in the real life. Thus, it is possible to use the experience of various companies to learn what issues appear, how they were solved and work out other (perhaps, more effective) solutions for those problems. Students can choose any issue and any company they think can be useful.
For instance, they may search for possible topics in newspapers and magazines, study the problem carefully and suggest it for the discussion during classes. By all means, teachers will guide students, however, the major part of work should be done by learners who in this way will be able to obtain deeper knowledge on the subjects. Such approach will equip student with the necessary skills to solve various issues which are likely to appear at their working places.
Thus, students become skillful professionals who do not need to gain some experience during first years of their work, but already have it and can react in different situations immediately. On the other hand, Lang will also benefit since the faculty will accumulate numerous topics for discussion during their courses. It goes without saying that students always find very interesting cases and quite unexpected solution since they still have freshness of vision which is not spoiled by conventional rules and approaches.
Apart from such problem solving orientation I could also suggest involvement of technology during the class. It is not about presentations made in PowerPoint. I once came across an article dealing with the use of interactive discussion during classes. It is possible to work out similar conferences at Lang. Thus, during classes (or conferences) which involve many students it is possible to use a kind of social network. Thus, more people can participate in discussion putting questions not only orally but online.
Of course, such class will require a lot of preparation, however, I think, it is worth trying. Since a teacher (or rather his/her assistant since the teacher will run the discussion) will be able to pick up the most interesting questions for consideration, and some less important question will also be answered online. This will enable students and teachers to cover more issues, or so to speak, facets of a problem. The lasting impact of these classes for students consists in acquiring more knowledge during shorter period of time and development of necessary skills of participating in complicated discussions and using technology which is excessively exploited at many companies nowadays.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that the use of technology and problem solving orientation during classes will be beneficial for students and the college. Moreover, I think these innovations can encourage students to be more active and suggest new ideas which can lead to many improvements.