Judy Chan, Karol Traviss, Nisha Malhotra
How to handle challenges in innovative teaching?
Group work & those who don’t work.
This is what puts most of us off group work — having group-mates who share in the credit but not the work.
Instructors are wary of this too, especially when monitoring group dynamics is virtually impossible. This is where you can help them to help you: document your group’s progress. Make an agreement in your group at the get-go on ways to ensure accountability. Then, when needed, bring your concerns to the instructor with evidence — a screenshot of your Facebook message, a capture of your WhatsApp chat — and trust that, more often than not, instructors are fair.
When does community learning become detrimental?
Answer: when students don’t engage.
Instructors who challenge students to take responsibility for the learning and the teaching are taking a major risk: that, at the end of the day, nobody has learned anything. But remember, this risk becomes yours by virtue of being in that class. You can engage in the classroom-community and reap the benefits of active learning, or you can waste time and tuition dollars while also taking away from the learning of others.
The secret to happier students?
We university students don’t generally associate classes with happiness, but some of us may be wiling to admit that there is such a thing as an enjoyable class. It exists in a few contexts: you were passionate about the subject, you had friends around to make it fun, or you just really got into it. You started pondering and asking questions and, before you knew it, you were reading unassigned material, doing not-for-marks research, going beyond what you were required. And it was satisfying; you felt like you actually got something out of the course.
So it may be true: you get out what you put in.
What gets you engaged in class? What stops you from actively engaging?