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Chapter 2. Programs and Structures that Support Student Success

Identify Class Goals and Link to Student Goals

Students are more likely to learn content and applications when they see what they can do with the infor-­ PDWLRQ DQG VNLOOV DQG KRZ WKHVH DSSOLFDWLRQV FDQ EH RI EHQH¿W WR WKHP :KLOH IDFXOW\ RIWHQ DVN VWXGHQWV IRU WKHLU JRDOV IRU WKH FODVV RQ WKH ¿UVW GD\ RI FODVV VWXGHQWV UDUHO\ KDYH D FOHDU XQGHUVWDQGLQJ RI ZKDW WKH SRVVLEOH EHQH¿WV RI VXFFHVVIXO FRXUVH FRPSOHWLRQ EH\RQG FRXUVH FUHGLW FDQ RIIHU WKHP

Techniques to Link Class and Student Goals

)DFXOW\ VKRXOG GHYHORS D ³PHQX RI EHQH¿WV´ IRU HDFK FODVV %UDLQVWRUP KRZ WKH OHDUQLQJ IURP WKH FODVV FDQ help the student in the future around Maslow’s (1970) hierarchy of needs, from basic physical (the need to eat) to self-­actualization (having a personal, positive impact on the world.) Faculty can offer students the PHQX RI EHQH¿WV HLWKHU EHIRUH RU RQ WKH ¿UVW GD\ RI FODVV ZLWK DQ DVVLJQPHQW WR VHOHFW WKH WKUHH EHQH¿WV most important to them and articulate, either in an in-­class activity or in an assignment, why the class is necessary to their future success.

Improve Student Understanding of Class Expectations

Many compliance and learning issues can be understood as failure to make academic expectations clear. %HVLGHV KHOSLQJ VWXGHQWV XQGHUVWDQG WKH EHQH¿WV RI WKH FODVV PRUH LQVWUXPHQWDO PRWLYDWRUV OLNH UHZDUGV (in the form of points and/or the privilege of participation) and consequences (in the form of penalties, points, or learning opportunities lost) should be spelled out for all academic expectations:

  • Preparation. &RPSOHWLQJ VSHFL¿F RXWRIFODVV DVVLJQPHQWV LV SUHUHTXLVLWH WR DWWHQGLQJ FODVV DQG participating in in-­class activities.

  • Attendance. Class attendance should be required;; out-­of-­class preparation does not preclude the necessity of attending class, but rather provides raw material for class activities.

  • Attention/engagement. The expectation that students will be fully present in class and the rea-­ son for it should be explicated and enforced. Distracting other students, using mobile devices for nonclass activities, or doing other work during class is counterproductive to students’ own and others’ learning, and so is not allowed.

  • Participation/activity. Inactivity is not an option, and 100 percent of students are expected to comply with instructor expectations for participation and activity (as well as preparation) 100 per-­ cent of the time. Since the evidence is fairly indisputable that increasing student activity increases learning, this should be a basic precondition for success in all classes (Pascarella and Terenzini 1991, 2005).

  • Cooperation. Active learning involves interaction. For the interaction to be effective, all participants must cooperate toward learning goals, including preparing for class. This is especially critical in graded group work.

  • Accountability. For all students to have the best opportunity to learn, students must be account-­ able to themselves and to the group for meeting all these expectations. Students are accountable to prepare for and attend class and to participate in the activities most likely to facilitate deep and lasting learning.

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A Collection of Papers on Self-­Study and Institutional Improvement, 2011 © 2011 Higher Learning Commission. All rights reserved.

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