Categories and characteristics

On the topic of learning and motivation, it is interesting to reflect on the difference between being a learner and an educator when we talk about Salmon’s five stage model, which is a model we are using in our PBL group (see reference to Salmon’s website below).

We can develop competencies that relate to learning by understanding ourselves more and how we work in a group setting, how we prefer to “digest” new knowledge, and how we use multimodal approaches to learning. Then we can develop competences related to teaching, where we take on a different role. I would like to share an article by Leahy et. al. (2005), where the authors write about the difference between assessing students’ work for grades or assessing students’ work for learning purposes. A link to the article can be found below. If we connect the article by Leahy et. al. (2005) to Salmon’s five stage model, we can see that there is a lot of room for knowledge construction, social exchange and motivation for learning in the methods proposed by Leahy et. al. They introduce five categories of teaching strategies that will benefit learning and motivate students to engage in learning processes. The categories are:

  • Clarifying and sharing learning intentions and criteria for success.
  • Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions, and learning tasks.
  • Providing feedback that moves learners forward.
  • Activating students as the owners of their own learning.
  • Activating students as instructional resources for one another. (Leahy et. al, 2005)

With clearly formulated learning objectives and a good structure from the beginning, the teacher can use these strategies to engage students and make them more active in the learning process, which in turn should build motivation.

In our teaching programmes, we encourage our students to reflect on these strategies and connect them to aspects of learning and motivation when they reflect on both their own teaching roles and others’ teaching practices. It is very interesting to discuss these strategies (and sometimes the lack of these strategies, and what could be added in terms of value, if the strategies were used). It is also interesting to look at these strategies both from a teacher’s and a learner’s perspective. What strategies do I use as a teacher? What strategies or methods do I prefer as a learner?

Also, the webinar on topic 4 suggested a reference to an article by Smith and Kaya (2021), which I found really interesting. When I reflect on the characteristics in a table by Lepper and Wolverton (2002) of what traits expert tutors can have and how those characteristics affect students’ results, I find that I would use the different characteristics more or less with different student groups. As an upper secondary teacher, where I would teach students aged 16-19, I would use a lot of the nurturant characteristics on an individual level with my students. As a university teacher, I don’t have the same prerequisites for teaching, as I sometimes meet about 200 students in the same classroom or Zoom room. Even though I use nurturant characteristics to encourage group discussions and listen to students’ individual voices in group settings, I don’t have the same opportunity to engage in conversations on an individual level in some sessions. I can use the strategies proposed by Leahy et. al., which correspond well with the characteristics in the table below, but when reflecting on motivation and learning, I almost always find myself wanting more time with my university students. Whereas I would meet upper secondary students twice a week, every week for an entire school year, I might only meet my university students a total of four or five times in a course, and the student groups are usually quite large; at least 100 students in every group.

Links used as references:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov05/vol63/num03/Classroom-Assessment@-Minute-by-Minute,-Day-by-Day.aspx

https://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-mod

https://iafor.org/journal/iafor-journal-of-education/volume-9-issue-2/article-11/

1 comment

  1. I agree that looking at a typology like in the table of characteristics you are swiftly in to evaluating your own position, I did. Did I fit any? I don’t know, but I am sure that with supervisor or peer feedback to my thoughts it will produce a great exercise, thus moving us towards a better understanding of ourselves in a professional role.
    I also thought of about the motivation issue, for all parts, and connected it to my quick read of parts of the book by Susan Fowler and Ken Blanchard (2014, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does : The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging) suggested by some in the PBL-group. Motivation is a skill they say, and it is a question for us to bring that skill into practice and develop it. Their own experience of becoming good at motivating themselves to learn would, is my idea, prepare them well to allow their coming pupils to do the same.
    Thanks for a great post
    /Lars

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