Student Engagement and Learning Needs: helping your students learn in the classroom

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Information about Student Engagement and Learning Needs: helping your students learn in...

Published on June 2, 2016

Author: EmmaKennedy3


1. Student Engagement and Learning Needs DR EMMA KENNEDY EMMA.KENNEDY@QMUL.AC.UK

2. Learning Outcomes This session will look at some of the problems we encounter as teachers in trying to inspire and maintain students’ engagement with our discipline. We will look at issues of teaching & learning style and also of session planning, asking how to identify and respond to student needs. By the end of this session, you should be able to  Identify likely student needs in a given learning situation  Analyse how teachers can respond to those needs in order to maintain engagement  Evaluate the utility of different learning styles and teaching theories in responding to identified student needs

3. Learning Needs: what students need in order to learn. Influences • Cultural background • Disability • Skill level • Previous experience. • What is being taught • When & where • Intellectual & professional context

4. Learning Styles - VARK  “Learning Styles” refers to the idea that different people learn better when they receive information in particular ways.  For a good review see Kozhevnikov et al. (2014) – PDF on QMPlus. VARK – Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, Kinetic. Neil Fleming ( Fleming, Neil D. (2014). "The VARK modalities". Claims that people who are ‘visual learners’, ‘kinaesthetic learners’ etc. learn better when information is presented in their preferred way. What is the best way to present your information?

5. Learning styles – Experiential Learning Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall David Kolb developed the Experiential Learning Model According to Kolb the model on the right shows the different stages of learning from experience. The best learning & teaching will incorporate all four stages (blue), but people tend to fall into one of the four quadrants (yellow). Some subjects make more use of one stage in particular than others (theory vs. practice)

6. Can learning styles help us meet learning needs? Impossible to identify learning styles of each student. But can we use learning styles theory to inform how we teach? Present info in different ways (VARK): diagrams, reading, audio Allow students to experience things differently (Kolb): time for planning, acting, observing and reflection

7. Tools to meet learning needs • Think about the content that you will be teaching and the different ways you will present it. Does a visual style work better than an auditory style, for example? Or are you teaching a practical skill that students should be able to practice doing (kinaesthetic style)? Presentation and teaching style. • If you have identified particular learning needs you can plan your lesson in response to them. For example, if you are teaching late in the day students may need a break where they would not normally. Dyslexic students may appreciate extra time for reading, or the chance to listen to a passage rather than just reading it. Lesson Planning • Sometimes we can sense that students are not responding but struggle to tell why, and what to do about it. Collecting mid-course evaluation – through Post-Its or an online poll – can give vital information that we can then use in planning the next session. Evaluation

8. Student Engagement ‘In education, student engagement refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. Generally speaking, the concept of “student engagement” is predicated on the belief that learning improves when students are inquisitive, interested, or inspired, and that learning tends to suffer when students are bored, dispassionate, disaffected, or otherwise “disengaged.” ’ From Two possible meanings: 1. We engage students 2. Students engage (themselves) Students engage themselves – but we can encourage & help them

9. Types of engagement – and signs that students are engaged • Students comply with ground rules and behavioural norms, and don’t behave disruptively. Behavioural Engagement • Students experience positive reactions such as enjoyment, interest or a sense of belonging. Emotional Engagement • Students are invested in their learning, seek to go beyond the stated reactions and enjoy a challenge. 3. Cognitive Engagement 3 dimensions of engagement taken from Trowler (2010) literature review – see QM+.

10. Are your students engaged?  Take a minute to write down some possible signs that students are engaged. It could be examples of behaviour that you have observed in your own students, or just what you think an ‘engaged student’ would look like to a teacher.  Now think about what a disengaged student would look like. Have you experienced any of those? Write down some examples of behaviour that you might expect, or have seen, from disengaged students.

11. Lesson Planning Delivery • Variety of activities: are the students taking notes for an hour? Content • Difficulty level? Mechanism to check understanding? Environment • Stuffy lecture room? Low-energy time of day? Individual needs • Students with particular needs – cultural, disability, other?

12. Teaching Methods Interactive Teaching • Ask for informal feedback • Take a vote using clickers or hands up • Get students to feed back after a group exercise. • Build in a fun or active element: drawing on the whiteboard, finding answers online. Checking engagement • Ask a question • Stop and ask everyone to say how they are feeling (“up for a challenge” vs. “completely lost”) • Large class: hands up/check in with neighbour Inclusive atmosphere • Small group work is less challenging for shy students than speaking in front of whole class • Never mock students • Establish ground rules if you think you will need them – then refer back to them when you need to

13. Interaction with students • Eye contact helps maintain attention and shows that you are speaking to students, not at them • Body language – what does your body language show to students? – are you always behind a desk? Do you sit in front of the students or with them in a circle? • Humour - light touch; don’t mock students; laugh at yourself. • Tone of voice – do you speak clearly? • Attitude – this depends on your own personality, but remember: if you enforce harsh rules you must stick to them. Keep an open line of communication and be approachable:

14. Thanks for your time! Now please look at the rest of the resources on QM+ and reflect on the questions to get ready for the Blackboard Collaborate discussion.

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