Session 2: Gallery Walk

Charlene D'Avanzo introduces the concept of a gallery walk, where groups of 3-4 people move around the room discussing, writing down responses, and reacting to previous responses to different questions that have been posted in various locations.

By asking participants to count off, Charlene divides the group into approximately 16 smaller groups. Each small group then roams the room, addressing in turn four separate questions: 1) when you were a student, what teaching experiences worked best for you? 2) In your experience as a student, what teaching approaches were not effective? 3) What kind of student-active teaching have you done in your courses? 4) Give some examples of student-active teaching (not only from your own courses). Click here for a summary of responses

Each group is given 10 minutes per question and at the end of the 40 minutes, participants return to their seats. Four volunteer participants then attempt to summarize the various responses written down by each of the groups.

A discussion of the gallery walk as an example itself of active learning then ensues: What did the respondents get from the gallery walk and how did they feel about it? Many people appreciated the walk as a chance to start building community, to meet and talk with people they didn't yet know; others commented on how the process of collaboration provided fertile soil for critical thinking; stimulating ideas they wouldn't have perceived on their own; still others commented on how the process of writing things down forced them to better articulate their verbal communications.

Charlene then asks participants to imagine ways they might transfer the concept of the gallery walk to the science classroom. Participants suggest a range of approaches: how problems in different disciplines might be addressed (e.g., a calculus problem), offering an explanation to a problem for debate rather than a problem to solve, and assigning students the task of coming up with questions/problems for the gallery walk.

The session concludes at noon.

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