Tag Archives: media

Democracy in the Classroom: the Importance of Environment and Attitude in Student-Led Seminars

David Koehler

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.9

Short Abstract
This presentation builds upon previous empirical research into the effectiveness of student-led seminars for teaching critical theory. This paper presents reflections upon the success of this format, drawing upon the educational philosophies of John Dewey and Carl Rogers to explain how and why this format is successful.

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Detailed Outline
This presentation builds upon previous empirical research into the effectiveness of student-led seminars for teaching critical theory, which used focus groups to compliment the standard module evaluation questionnaires. In the previous research, feedback showed that creating a democratic learning situation helped students to engage with difficult theoretical texts. Students at Coventry University were asked to give 10 minute introductory presentations and then participate in a 40 minute group discussion as part of a second-year Democracy and the Media module.

The current phase of this research includes subsequent experiences at Birmingham University leading seminars on Modern Social Theory and Global Sociology. Here a slightly different format was used where students break into small discussion groups for 25 minutes, then present the results of their discussion to the rest of the class, and finally a plenary discussion is held with the class as a whole. Again, student feedback has shown that this student-led format is a successful way to help students engage with difficult texts.

This paper briefly presents the results of these experiences and reflects upon the success of this format, drawing upon the educational philosophies of John Dewey and Carl Rogers. John Dewey is useful for drawing attention to the role of the environment in creating a successful learning situation, and Carl Rogers draws our attention to the importance of a teacher-facilitators attitude in fostering a positive relationship with students. This paper will argue that these aspects of teaching are often underplayed, yet are crucial in the success of creating a democratic classroom, which is arguably the principle for student-led learning.

2012 Understanding student learning from feedback

Stuart Hepplestone and Gladson Chikwa

The importance of feedback on student learning is universally accepted (e.g. Handley et al. 2011; Hattie and Timperley 2007). However do we know the practices that students use when using feedback effectively for future learning? It will be argued that the way students engage with feedback determines its utility (Handley et al. (ibid.)), a position consistent with Carless et al. (2010, p.396) when they advocate that, ‘the crux of the matter is how students interpret and use feedback’. 

A recent research project undertaken with a small number of undergraduate students at Sheffield Hallam University attempted to address this question. Using Tweets, reflective diaries and interviews, this longitudinal study encouraged the participants to articulate the strategies that students use at a subconscious level to manage their feedback. We were interested in the process that students use to engage with, act upon, store and recall their feedback, and the strategies that they use to feed forward into future learning and the connections they see between each learning activity and the curriculum as a whole. Attention was also drawn to the differences in how students interact with feedback delivered through existing technologies and different media.

This session will outline the background to the project and how the data was collected. Initial findings from the data will be shared on how students use feedback immediately after an assessment task, before their next assessment, between modules and years of study. We will discuss how we are aiming to make explicit the currently implicit processes that students use to deal with feedback. 

References:

Carless, D., Salter, D., Yang, M. and Lam, J. (2010). Developing sustainable feedback practices. Studies in Higher Education, 36 (4), 395-407. 

Handley, K., Price, M. and Millar, J. (2011). Beyond ‘doing time’: investigating the concept of student engagement with feedback. Oxford Review of Education, 37 (4), 543-560.

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback.Review of Educational Research, 77 (1), 81-112.

C6 – (EN34 and EN03) 14.20