Parrots, People and Pedagogies: A Look at Teaching and Education

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ALEX the African Grey Parrot and Dr Irene Pepperberg.

Image: The ALEX Foundation.

Like anyone who has taught science courses, and probably like anyone who has ever taught anything to a classroom in the history of mankind, I’ve wondered how to motivate my students to really care about the material they are learning, beyond simply “studying for the test.” For example, I have used a group method of study where groups of 4 students are each assigned a specific task: to become an expert in a particular area and to share their knowledge with the other groups. This method is only partially successful since it is dependent upon good classroom rapport and careful management by the professor, otherwise, each group of “experts” can selectively withhold or misrepresent information that is important for developing a better understanding of the topic at hand.

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About GrrlScientist

GrrlScientist is the blog pseudonym for an evolutionary biologist/ornithologist who writes about E3: Evolution, Ecology and Ethology, and the subtle relationships between these phenomena, especially in birds. She also is a proud member of that vast liberal conspiracy that your mother warned you about. Regardless of where she ends up in the world, GrrlScientist's main blog can always be accessed through any one of these five domain names: GrrlScientist.net, GrrlScientist.org, GrrlScientist.info, GrrlScientist.com, and GrrlScientist.us. GrrlScientist writes a second blog, Maniraptora, at Nature Network. Online interviews with GrrlScientist: Kolibri Expeditions, ScienceOnline09, Nature Blog Network and ScienceBlogs. More biographical information about GrrlScientist.
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