What is Gutenberg Method?


assign the students portions of the textbook to study before they come to class.

The students have read the material, they have thought about it, and they have questions to ask about it. You answer these questions, or, better still, try to get them to answer their own questions, or get other students to give the answers. You ask questions. You have a discussion. If they’re slow to come alive, you take up points that you know give students trouble. You lead them through difficult problems. The entire class hour becomes like those few golden moments at the end of an old-fashioned lecture when a few students manage to rise above the system and gather around your desk.

The Gutenberg Method, then, is one that uses a book. But if it is to work, the book must be written with this end in mind, or as though this end was in mind. It should not be a reference book jam-packed with ten times the facts and information that a student can hope to learn. It should not be a short, concise summary written to help the student review. It must be written to be the student’s initial contact with the subject. New ideas must be introduced as though the students were completely ignorant which, at this stage, they are. Explanations must be full enough, complete enough, that the students can understand them. This means using many words and many pages.

What we really want to do is strike a spark in the students’ minds. We want to reveal to them the beauty of ideas and concepts and rationality. The teacher and his personality play the key role in this. But it is not the teacher’s wit and polish and delivery that are important. It is the teacher’s enthusiasm for the subject that is enormously contagious … It is the intense pleasure the students get when they are led, like Socrates’ slave-boy, to use, really use, their own minds.


from this article.


It also have very good quotes:


… laziness. It is always easier to go on doing what you’ve been doing and what everybody else is doing than to do something new.

I think that everyone, at least one part of everyone, wants the security of knowing what is going to happen.


and some other interesting quotes:

Reading makes demands on you. You must work at it. And because of the work you do, reading stretches your mind.


Learning … is not a spectator sport. A student doesn’t learn sitting on the aisle in a lecture room watching a spectacular performance by a star lecturer.



Also read the article below written by Frank L. Lambert:


The essence of the Gutenberg Method that can transform a class lies in the psychological change in professor and student to the roles of coach and student-who-wants-success. The procedures are just the framework. They are trivial, useless, a waste of time without a commitment by instructors to change their attitudes to create a different relationship with students than they themselves suffered as undergraduates under authoritative savants (or marginal human beings with fast-moving chalk and PowerPoint). In my opinion, the instructor must communicate this and the advantages of their changed roles for the student to the students from the first minutes of contact with members of a new class.

Only a psychological change in the instructor, plus extra hours of labor in finding/developing optimal talking points to aid each student, can prove to doubting students how a course is worth their best effort. It is additional labor to speak with them individually, personally. But if they sense the sincerity of such interest in helping them in their future, I predict a major change in enough students to tip the balance in the whole class toward a genuine coach-to-team-member relationship.

What I discovered as “the Gutenberg Method”, via procedures and attitudes described in the preceding paragraphs, is maximally successful only if it is truly, and if it is sensed by the student to be, part of a totally cooperative endeavor to conquer the subject matter: to ‘beat the book’…with coach and student working together.

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