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Uncover a little or cover a lot?

  1. May 7, 2013 #1
    I am an undergraduate physics major just finishing up my sophomore year. During this semester, I've gotten to see both ends of the spectrum of teaching methods. Which do you think is more efficient in teaching physics/mathematics? Cover a lot of material forcing students to learn some things on their own or taking your time going through material in order to really drive home main concepts but in the end cover less material. I think that if I were a teacher, I would take the "uncover a little" route, but I guess it really depends on if the class is a first exposure or advanced level.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2013 #2
    Like all things in life:

    Don't cover too much, as it is by definition, too much.

    Don't cover too little, as it is by definition, too little.

    Now, judging what is too much and what is too little is subtle and subjective and IMO trying to perfect it is a waste of energy.
  4. Jun 21, 2013 #3
    As a teacher, I would cover a lot as opposed to covering little but more in depth. My reasons for this is that understanding requires connecting similar ideas together so the more ideas are in play, the more can be connected. However, it's rare that teachers know how to teach understanding so this method does not work very well. Teachers who teach this way usually end up with a lot of disparate ideas and leave it up to the students to understand it, which requires effort on their part, which pretty much means they won't put in the effort, so the end result is that they don't understand it.
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