Thayer Method

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by ca2midwestmom, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Can anyone who is a current or past USMA cadet explain how the Thayer Method is different from conventional college level instruction? I understand that cadets are responsible for learning the material on their own, then it's reinforced in class through group learning. I would assume they would be given a detailed syllabus vs an outline. Aside from long lectures, I'm not clear on how this is different from instruction in a civilian college class.
     
  2. blwarnock

    blwarnock Member

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    I'm not a current cadet but I am a candidate and my father is a past cadet. The Thayer method is meant for cadets to walk into class knowing the topic and have questions for the professor. It is mainly to make sure that the student is responsible for learning the information and the professor to answer any uncertainties. Hope this helps!
     
  3. powderhorngreen

    powderhorngreen Member

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    The Thayer method is used in the high school my son attends. The classes are not the typical lecture and note taking approach with which most are familiar. The students are given reading assignments and/or an outline of topics that will be covered in a class ahead of time (this is the homework done before a class). The student is then responsible for reading and/or researching the information and coming to class with both an understanding of the material AND a list of questions, areas of confusion, and areas requiring further detail and refinement to ensure they have 100% understanding of the topic at hand. The class time largely consists of the students directing the class conversation as they work to assist each other in strengthening their understanding. THen, the homework after class is to refine your class outline and notes to fill in the gaps that existed before that class. Then, you start on the homework of preparing for the next class. My son now loves this approach to learning - but it took time or him to get use to it - showing up n class and taking notes while the teacher feeds you information you just have to memorize is much more passive. He had to be become a proactive learner and then he excelled. hHe biggest hurdle for my son in the beginning was to really prepare for class and not just skim - he now knows he has to read critically, do additional independent (internet mostly) research and really know where he does not have clarity of detail. He has learned that his education is 100% his responsibility and the instructor is a tool at his disposal. He learning is not the teacher's job, but his responsibility. I have found the Thayer method to be a great builder of critical thinking and independent learning skills.
     
  4. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    So say for math or chemistry, a cadet will have read Chapter x and done problems x-xx prior to attending class, then get help in class with anything he/she didn't understand? Having smaller classes would definitely be a pro in that respect. Is homework graded? I read something that grades are given daily?? Or are grades only given for tests (a couple of times per semester)?

    I'm not really worried, just curious ... DS shouldn't have a problem with this method and he did hear about it at length during SLE, so he is (sort of) prepared. :shake: But as with any new experience, there is a learning curve of what is expected, especially when going from high school to college.

    EDIT: cross-posted with Powderhorngreen
     
  5. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    Thanks powderhorngreen -- that was what I was looking for.
     
  6. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    Based on what I've seen for the past three years, the "Thayer Method" just means you're responsible for doing homework/readings on material you haven't covered in class yet. Class time still largely depends on teachers identifying and teaching the important information (although this varies from course to course).
     

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