Tarkesh Singh profiled for employing active learning methods into his instruction

Excerpt from the spring 2019 Georgia Magazine in leaders in innovative instruction:

Written by Aaron Hale MA ’16

In practice, active learning takes many different forms, and an in-class competition is only one tool in the active learning chest. For example, role-playing games have limited utility for Assistant Professor Tarkesh Singh’s 75-seat Biomechanics course in the College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology. The class, which explores how the intricate laws of mechanics affect human movement, is intended for future clinicians: doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers.

For students to understand the complexity of how Newton’s laws of motion apply to, let’s say, a tightrope walker, Singh has to stand in front of the class and explain concepts of balance and rotational dynamics. But he uses group discussions and mobile technology to keep up the two-way flow of information. Students submit individual answers to in-class math problems from their phones or laptops. From there, Singh can figure out what percentage of his class is getting the right answer. If most are correct, he moves on. Otherwise, he refocuses on helping students understand the concept.

“He explains something, lets us process it with classmates, and asks practice questions. That solidifies it in your brain,” says Sarah Williamson BSEd ’18, an aspiring doctor who took Singh’s course in the fall. 

Williamson says what she really took away from the class, beyond just facts and formulas, is how to think through problems and come up with solutions. That’s exactly the skillset that faculty are trying to instill in tomorrow’s doctors, attorneys, and the rest of the future leaders who are shaped at the University of Georgia.

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