I have just spent a delightful week at the Institut Université Formation des Maîtres (IUFM) d’Auvergne, part of the Université Blaise Pascal de Clermont-Ferrand, in France. While there, I worked with three different groups. On June 4, 2013, I gave a talk and workshop for a general audience of faculty and graduate students entitled “If Learning Matters, How do I Teach Differently?” On June 5, I first worked with the faculty involved with the new diplôme enseigner dans le supérieur (diploma for higher education pedagogy, the equivalent of a certificate in the US), and then presented a talk entitled “The Transformation of US Higher Education Pedagogy” to the students in that diploma. The talks were related to the book co-authored as a result of a stay at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, published last fall, entitled Learning Matters. My focus was on the ways in which the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) has changed teaching and learning in the US, and what implications these changes have for France. Given the new diploma at IUFM, there was interest in learning about the various techniques of student centered learning.
My thanks especially to Prof. Didier Jourdan, the Director of IUFM d’Auvergne, for inviting me, and to Dr. Nathalie Younès, Maître de conférences, the responsable (person in charge of) the new diploma, for organizing the events.
Since I was in Clermont-Ferrand for a week, there was also time to see some of the attractions in the area, including not only small medieval villages, but also lakes, and a row of mostly dormant volcanoes (especially Puy-de-Dôme, the tallest) and the town of Royat (a spa town with thermal springs, due to the volcanoes, and also an excellent restaurant, Le Paradis, with a great view of the region).
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue