Thursday, September 20, 2007

Teaching Tip: Impact of student feedback on teaching and learning

The questions that often arise surrounding feedback are typically: How do we get feedback? When should we seek feedback? What do we do with the feedback we’ve received? These are important questions. But, before attempting to answer these questions, let’s take a moment and reflect on feedback.

Providing feedback to students is important. Chickering and Gamson (1987) stated that “knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning” (p. 5). The focus on learning, for both student and faculty, has the potential to improve learning and teaching. For improvement to take place, there must be some form of communication, of dialogue, of feedback between student and teacher. Feedback that improves learning clearly communicates to the student what is right and what is wrong (Gagne, Briggs & Wager, 1988).

Students who know what is right, wrong, and how to improve performance can focus their learning. Through good, constructive, personalized and educative feedback, students can focus (Brookfield, 2006). Just as students expect feedback on a test, paper, assignment or lab experiment, feedback should become an integral part of every classroom, every teaching and learning opportunity. Davis (1993) concluded that “frequent, immediate, and specific feedback helps students learn” (p. 182).

Give students feedback. Let them know regularly what they are doing well. Share with them how they can improve themselves. Taking the time and effort to provide feedback can have unexpected results … students becoming more engaged in their learning, asking questions about the curricular content, and learning.

References

Brookfield, S. (2006). The skillful teacher: On technique, trust, and responsiveness in the classroom. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987, March). “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.” American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3–6.

Davis, B. (1993). Tools for teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Gagne, R., Briggs, L., & Wager, W. (1988). Principles of instructional design. (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Connected Learning

Connected learning focuses more on the context of learning, than a particular pedagogical perspective. Connected learning acknowledges the role of the environment and context for learning. It is more than merely learning without regard to time or place. It is an immediate connection of the learning to something, whether a place (to use the learned material), an object (to use with the learning), or a person (to extend and reflect on the learning).

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