Some colleagues and I recently traveled to Chicago for the annual Higher Learning Commission conference on accreditation. It was a huge event, with over 4,100 participants from more than 800 institutions. Coming from the tiny town of Lander, where I register and recognize many of the faces on Main Street, I soon experienced “face overload”: my brain could not process that many faces walking by day after day, with never a face repeated in the mix, and I experienced the urge to walk through crowds with my eyes shut.
Not an urge I indulged, mind you.
So we found ourselves on the first day of the conference at an orientation event in an auditorium with some 400 or so first-time conference participants. The speaker stood at the front with a microphone and cracked jokes and made points and generally oriented everyone, but what grabbed my attention was his comment about teachers and institutions that don’t want to face the new standards. “If you are at an institution where they still have big lecture halls with one guy at a microphone talking to hundreds of students, that institution doesn’t know what it’s doing!” he proclaimed.
Hmm. What are we doing?, I thought to my self, as I looked around.
“They’re behind the times: the lecture is not the best way to teach!” he continued. I sympathize with that claim, I really do, but it kept replaying in my head over the next three days as I and my colleagues did nothing at the conference but attend lectures.
I’m not sure it struck anyone else as funny, but I kept smiling.