Across the country, college professors are not just educating students; they’re awakening their curiosity and endowing them with the perspective they need to ask bolder questions and think more critically.
For psychology students, that can mean questioning cultural norms and conventions long accepted as status quo and thinking about themselves, and the world around them, with a new perspective.
By the time they graduate, professors want their students’ potential to only be as restrained as their questions and their cultural contributions to be as impactful as their answers.
At Packback, we created Packback Questions to give students a safe, constructive place to ask not just big questions, but also put forth big answers. On Packback Questions, students are applying the lessons learned in class to novel situations and supporting their opinions with new insights.
Just take it from these psychology students.
Personal Experience Prompts a Change in a Student’s Perspective
This question inspired five personal stories from students that felt comfortable sharing with each other. While learning in the classroom is important and can change perspectives, personal experience and reflection are also essential for individual growth and learning.
See how Katie’s past experiences prompted her to reexamine her worldview:
Katie joins the conversation in a respectful way by thanking the question asker for the insightful question. Her respectful tone continues throughout her response as she navigates a potentially difficult exchange, which requires students to be vulnerable and share their personal experiences. Thoughtful responses like Katie’s and her peers’ are essential for any discussion – in the classroom or out.
The fear of failure is one of the biggest barriers to curiosity, learning, and growth. Society often views appearing uninformed as a failure and changing one’s mind as a sign of weakness.
As educators, we know this isn’t true. Katie’s response is remarkable because she not only had the courage to challenge her worldview, but she was also willing to share that experience. Just as respect is essential to a discussion, so, too, is humility. It opens up the opportunity to learn from others, and Katie’s answer embodies both of these qualities.
Curiosity Turns a Classroom Concept into a Concrete Example
Curiosity is the gap between what we know and what we want to know. For Emily, a classroom concept sparked her curiosity. She reached out to her peers on Packback Questions for their insight, and she certainly received some.
Daniel’s well-thought-out response gave him the opportunity to crystallize his own knowledge by communicating it clearly with Emily, who also benefited from his reply.
This exchange demonstrates the deeper value of discussion. It helps students learn even more than they could as consumers of knowledge alone by providing them the chance to be curators and creators of it.
For a Great Discussion, Start with the Facts, End with a Little Future Thinking
Paola starts this answer off strong by grounding it in where we all should start: the facts. This opening demonstrates a clear understanding of the procedure and provides more analysis into its limitations and implications. It also provides a sturdy foundation to discuss a multifaceted issue. This is especially important on topics like this, where everyone might be starting from a different place due to their unique upbringing and cultural perspective.
The best answers aren’t be-all-end-all, but rather building blocks that prompt deeper discussion and perhaps raise more questions. Take it from Paola, who does a skillful job of evaluating the positives and negatives of gene manipulation, while acknowledging the uncertain consequences.
These great answers are especially important in our experiential learning community. Packback Questions actually promotes top responses, like Katie’s, Daniel’s, and Paola’s, to help cultivate a higher degree of trust, discussion, and analysis across the community.
We at Packback firmly believe learning to indulge one’s curiosity, and others’, is one of the most powerful lessons professors can instill in their students, particularly in the study of psychology which strives to encourage a deeper understanding of ourselves and one another.
To learn more about Packback Questions and the conversations it can spark among your students, check out https://www.packback.co/questions or reach out to us directly.
Want to see a live Packback community and learn how you can increase student engagement and critical thinking in your course?