Volume 1, 2015
Practices in Pedagogy
Andrew M. Winters
Some Benefits of Getting It Wrong
Guided Unsuccessful Retrievals and Long-Term Understanding
What might be called the “common approach” to teaching incorporates traditional retrieval exercises, such as tests and quizzes, as tools for evaluating retention. Given our course goals, many educators would recognize that the emphasis on retention is problematic. In addition to understanding information in the short-term, long-term understanding is also desirable. In this paper, I advocate for a new use of quizzes in philosophy courses that is intentionally designed to enhance long-term understanding of course material as well as to develop skills that are applicable outside academic settings. These skills include learning to confront problems that do not have obvious solutions and revise beliefs in light of new information. I will specifically consider three iterations involved in developing this method.