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LECTURER OF THE 2010 FIRST-YEAR STUDENT:How can the lecturer help? February 2010
Kibbie Naidoo Centre for Professional Academic Staff Development
Aims examine how what we do as teachers in the (first year) classroom relates to what we plan and include in the learning guide and how we assess in tests, assignments and exams start a debate on teaching and learning at the first year level explore some of the challenges that teachers at UJ encounter
Where do we begin? Academics need to address the needs of all students not just the traditional ‘academic elite’ who would probably succeed at university with little academic support (Biggs; 1999) Know who our students are What is their prior knowledge? How do we come to know this?
Teaching is about: the curriculum the teaching methods/strategies/learning tasks that we use to facilitate student learning the assessment processes we use and the methods of reporting results the climate we create in our interaction with students the institutional climate, the rules; procedures; we are required to follow Our role is to ensure that the learning outcomes that we communicate to our students are achievable and aligned with the learning tasks and assessment methods
Alignment Learning Tasks Learning Outcomes Assessment Tasks
Learning Guide Should support student learning. Should contain: Description of the module Learning outcomes Assessment criteria and method Information about teaching staff their availability and how to contact them Calendar for the semester with significant dates and timetable for assessment Can be a “living” document
The Lecture: Key Questions which are essential in teaching for learning (in the 50 minute lecture) What is the toneat the beginning? What message about T&L am I giving students by the way in which I start the lesson? Whose voicedominates during the lesson? Will my students be actively involved? How? What are they expected to do? If I planned a lecture on a particular content what do I expectfrom my students? Did I plan activities for my students to do afterthe session? How is their learning extended outside the classroom? Do all student get an opportunity to engage in discussion when I pose questions during class? How do I achieve this? (Adapted from Merckel; 2009)
How can we increase student engagement/understanding – use learning tasks Learning at university is conceptualised as the design and implementation of learning tasks Learning tasks should foster ‘deep’ learning Implies that learning is a process ofactive engagement What does this mean for the role of the university teacher? What does this mean for student learning at university?
What is a ‘ learning task’? Task designed for students to guide and support them in appropriating the practice of a discipline By engaging with the learning task they engage with the learning content Lecturers’ task is to design challenging learning tasks for students
How do we include learning tasks in a lecture? Encouraging engagement and deeper processing Give learners a way to pay attention to the to the lecture by asking questions, raising issues Give learners a way to capture and report their observations and thoughts Give learners a way to report this and have dialogue about it Requires students to “act on” the lecture
Value of the learning task approach • Students play an active role in their learning • Learn by doing something and immediately interact with the content • Learning tasks structure our dialogue/interaction as teachers with students • Involve all students in the learning process Learning tasks thus include content as well as actions that students must take to help them learn the content
Value continued – Purpose of sharing ideas in small group • Small groups (2-4 participants) less threatening – enables students to find their voice • Safe psychological space in the classroom • Speaking helps students clarify thoughts – pick up misunderstandings • Students learn to use the discourse of the discipline • Difference can trigger deep learning • Establish a community of learners – co-operative learning/learning communities which can extend beyond the lecture (Adapted from Merckel 2009)
Examples of Learning Tasks • …that involve examining, comparing, reflecting on, editing, questioning, rearranging, reconstructing, analysing data; • …that invite the use of knowledge, skills, or attitudes immediately in the learning environment by offering them the opportunity to practice skills, to analyse, review, question, and define concepts in the classroom • …that integrate different sections of the learning content in addressing a problem or ask students to apply what they have learnt to a real life situation • …that ask for a summary the main points or arguments
Extending Interaction to other materials • Read this and highlight the three most important sentences ………. • Watch/listen and raise three questions that would be useful for someone to ask to hep their understanding, and provide the answers ….. • Listen/watch and retell this through the eyes of one of the characters ……. • Read this and highlight the 5 most important sentences and write about why you chose ……….. • Each take a chunk of the text (medium) and write a precise …. • Give a three minute presentation summarising the experience of the medium ….. • ANYTHING that encourages more than superficial reading, watching or listening …….. And sharing it with the tutor and peers in dialogue and quastion and answer modes!
Now what? • Review what has been covered • Discuss what has been learned • Identify the unresolved issues, questions and concerns • Make connections with the next session • Identify research and reading to be done • Consider the experience in relation to assessment
Assessment Assessment is key to the learning process at any university, and is linked to clear statements of learning outcomes and to learning tasks. Ideally assessment should play a positive role in enhancing the learning experience of all students
Thus assessment should: • Diagnose student potential • Evaluate student progress and identify possible learning problems • Provide a means of feedback to learners • Motivate students by requiring them to demonstrate the knowledge; understandings, skills and competencies they have developed • Measure achievements at appropriate academic levels • Provide staff with information about the effectiveness of their teaching
How do we Assess for Learning in the First Year? • Formative Continuous Assessment as opposed to only summative • There has to be a balance between assessment of learning (summative) and assessment for learning (formative) - purpose of assessment at different stages of the module will vary Student want: • Unambiguous expectations • Authentic tasks • Choice and flexibility
Summary As a lecturer you should thus ensure that: • Teaching, learning and assessment practices are aligned • Assessment and learning processes are integrated • Assessments are well planned, implemented and reviewed.