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Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning

Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning

Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning is a podcast hosted by Columbia University’s CTL Executive Director, Catherine Ross. Check out the URL to see all seasons listed, summaries, transcripts and topics! Dead ideas are persistent myths about teaching and learning that instructors believe and use! Check this great podcast series out.


About: Our mission is to encourage instructors, students, and leaders in higher education to reflect on what they believe about teaching and learning. In each episode, guests are invited to share their discoveries of “dead ideas”—ideas that are not true but that are often widely believed and embedded in the pedagogical choices we make. In Season 6, we will explore why dead ideas are so persistent, what role the science of learning can play in dispelling dead ideas, and why it’s so difficult for instructors and students to change their beliefs about teaching and learning.

Past conversations have focused on dead ideas in topics such as grading, teaching with technology, student motivation, assessment, and teaching and learning systems in the academy and how they need to be changed. Conversations have also explored dead ideas exposed by the move to remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these radically honest conversations will inspire lightbulb moments for our listeners as they seek to understand their own teaching and learning. To listen to an audio trailer, click here.

The theme originates from the article “The Tyranny of Dead Ideas in Teaching and Learning” (The Sociological Quarterly, 2011) by Diane L. Pike, Professor of Sociology at Augsburg University. Pike writes, “Ideas are dead because they are no longer correct, if they ever were. They are tyranny because we cling to them despite the evidence…Clinging to dead ideas about teaching and learning limits our practice as professors. The resulting tyranny means we fail to educate our students as effectively as we might…The good news is that learned behaviors, sociologically informed reflection, and the application of the research in the scholarship of teaching and learning can liberate us and improve the experiences of teachers and learners alike.”