Having fun! Boosting non-native speakers’ confidence through collaborative group work

It is a particular pleasure to have been invited to review chapter 2 of this book on teaching innovations. My own journey into being an academic developer began as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language and teacher educator of non-native speakers of English, so the aspects this chapter includes really struck a chord with me. This chapter will be of particular interest to academics who want to use interactive teaching techniques to create more active learning for their students. Continue reading

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A novel teaching strategy to enhance student’s participation: using cut-ups and topic maps to teach Media courses

A newly published study by Michał Tkaczyk from Masaryk University discusses the results of an innovative teaching strategy which addresses the problem of low levels of student participation in semiotic analysis of media contents seminars. Although active classroom participation plays an important role in knowledge acquisition (Murray and Lang 1997), students might lack the motivation or interest to engage in practical sessions. As emphasized by Tkaczyk, several factors might explain this issue. These include students’ academic dispositions, their lack of understanding of semiotics’ practical applications, and the possibility that interest and knowledge are not closely related, despite the claims in the scholarship. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 15: Develop your pedagogical ‘tech’ toolkit – it could be the key to enhancing the learning of your students

Let me make one thing clear from the outset. I am not a ‘techie’. I rely on my oldest daughter to sort out my Wi-Fi hub when it crashes occasionally at home, and I never did figure out how to set my old VCR recorder to record a TV programme in advance. Needless to say, I also haven’t as yet figured out how to record TV programmes using the ‘box’ that replaced my old VCR. Some things never change.  I’m aware of this failing, and keep promising myself that I’ll do something about it – but as long as my daughters are still living with us, I guess there is little urgency to develop this particular skill. Online banking remains a complete mystery to me. So I think its fair to say that my relationship with technology in my personal life has always been a ‘troublesome’ one. If I confess that I’m now thinking of investing in a record deck with an old fashioned diamond-tipped stylus so that I can play my old vinyl albums which have lain forlorn in my garage for the best part of 30 years, I think you’ll have some idea of my attitude to technology. I’m not one of the ‘early adopters’ that new gadgets are marketed at these days – I’m more of a ‘reluctant adopter’ who uses technology when it becomes difficult to avoid it. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 14: We gotta get out of here…. Get your students out of the classroom and see the difference it makes

Student-centred teaching and learning isn’t just about strategies you can use in the classroom or via online virtual environments. It embraces activities that extend beyond the formal university learning environment and that might be termed ‘learning outside the classroom’. If student-centred teaching is about creating learning opportunities that place the needs of the student at the heart of the process, then learning outside the classroom is one of the most effective tools in the toolkit of the HE teacher. Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 13: Consider how your pedagogical approach can be aligned with the needs of your project students

At this time of year many university lecturers and tutors will be meeting with students who are undertaking major projects or dissertations of various kinds.  Whilst some university and college departments have withdrawn major project or dissertation modules from their undergraduate courses in recent years (and some may never have had them), they are still one of the most common features of the undergraduate experience in the UK higher education sector, and it is most often the case that students undertake them in their final year of study. This is an appropriate time, therefore, to consider what ‘student-centred teaching’ might mean when considered in the context of undergraduate project supervision. Continue reading

Advancing Practice In Academic Development: Chapter 17

Book

Edited by David Baume and Celia Popovic
Routledge – The Staff and Educational Development Series
Publication January 2016

You can order your copy here

Please add your comments! Continue reading

#15toptips for Student-Centred Teaching 12: Remember to think about you! Be kind to yourself, learn more about your university and engage with continuing professional development – your students will benefit

At this time of year many academic colleagues are fine-tuning their modules – developing their teaching materials and tools and putting the finishing touches to the learning resources they will be using to support their students. It’s a busy time of year during which the focus on preparing to teach and the start of the new academic year can fully absorb both our attention and our energies. This is entirely understandable. However, its also a good time of year to take stock, to reflect on how you ‘feel’ about yourself as a professional educator, and to think about how you are going to develop yourself. In other words, it’s a good time to take a little ‘you’ time – to think about yourself and your own needs as a teacher. Aiming to be a student-centred practitioner, or one who embraces cutting-edge approaches to teaching and supporting learning is a laudable aim, but it is not a goal that one normally achieves by single-mindedly focusing on our students. This may sound counter-intuitive, but its true. In order to maintain a dynamic, creative and enthusiastic approach to student-centred teaching we need to also set aside some time to reflect on our performance, to think about our own professional development needs, and – perhaps – to ‘refresh’ our engagement with the research discourse on student-centred pedagogies. Taking time to think about you and your needs is NOT selfish – rather, it is in the best interests of your students, since if you are clear about your own needs, and address them, your students will be the beneficiaries. Continue reading

Advancing Practice In Academic Development: Chapter 16 Academic development and senior management

Book

Edited by David Baume and Celia Popovic
Routledge – The Staff and Educational Development Series
Publication January 2016

You can order your copy here

Chapter summaries and extracts will on the SEDA Blog over the coming months. (There may be small differences between these and the published versions)

Please add your comments! Continue reading