Challenging the Biased Brain: Creating Constructive Dialogue in the Classroom

Cognitive scientists, as well as those who are focused on science communication, have been telling us for some time that you can’t change people’s minds by simply confronting them with facts. In fact, research demonstrates that underlying patterns in our thinking encourage us to deny, ignore, or refute facts that challenge our current way of understanding the world around us and make it difficult for us to be open to new ideas, beliefs, and facts. What does this mean for students in our classroom and how can we design our classes to encourage students to be open to new ideas and understandings? 

In this talk, I will begin with a look at the research on cognition, bias, and learning that explores why developing constructive and meaningful dialogue in the classroom is central to creating deeper learning, and why this type of learning can be so difficult to facilitate.  I will then focus on the evidence for the most effective teaching strategies that enable students to challenge their misconceptions in meaningful ways that open them up to new ideas, understanding, and beliefs. Strategies discussed are applicable to all disciplines, topics, and fields.

This lecture is open to all within the Rice community. Pizza will be served.

Tuesday, April 18th
Herring Hall 129

Robin Paige
Associate Director
Center for Teaching Excellence