Communication How to Effectively Engage Students in Any Environment Janis Gallagher & Aimee Byk Ivy Tech - Lawrenceburg Objectives • Explain the value of discussion • How to foster discussion from Day One • How to ask the right questions • How to troubleshoot Four Kinds of Learning • Students learn “information” or “facts”. • Student learn what other scholars think about those facts. • Students learn how to take in, process and use all that information and create new knowledge. • Students learn how they can relate to and feel about all disciplines. The Value of Discussion • • • • • True learning is best achieved through dialogue. “Talking it out” helps create new knowledge Builds a “community of learners” Practice “thinking” about subject matter Thinking is active, listening to lectures is passive (low TTT: teacher talk time) • More likely to remember info they have discussed Why Discussion Works • • • • It demands students’ attention. “Next class, prepare to talk about…” Students receive immediate feedback. Accommodates collaborative learning styles • Models work environments • Explain all this to your students! May I Have Your Attention, Please?: Arousal Theory • When arousal is too low, we get bored • Discussion provides stimulation • Arousal level varies from person to person, and from one situation to another • Student interest peaks in the first ten minutes of class time, and then steadily decreases. • Individual attention span is limited to 45-50 minute intervals. The First Day: Face-to-Face • • • • • • • • Say hello! “M&M’s work” Learn their names. Collect information about each student. Have them get to know each other. Reveal information about yourself. Invite questions Do all this before the syllabus! The First Day: Face to Face • • • • • Define your expectations for discussion. “Come to class ready to discuss!” “This is your class, not mine.” Ask general, open-ended questions “What have you heard about psychology?” The First Day: Online • • • • “Welcome” email/announcement “Small talk” in the Coffee House forum Collect information about each student. Have them get to know each other (post introduction/reply). • Reveal information about yourself. • Model discussion: Invite questions, show enthusiasm • Define expectations in syllabus Ask the Right Questions: Face-to-Face • • • • • Begin with common experiences Introduce surprising/controversial topics Ask open-ended questions Build on their previous knowledge and interests Give a problem that they need to solve. Teacher’s Role in Discussion • • • • • • Wait it out! “Write your answer.” Guide the discussion, do not determine it. Leave personal bias out of it. Restate, summarize, ask questions. Model discussion; show enthusiasm, acknowledge different sides and admit you don’t hold the ultimate answer! Ask the Right Questions: Online • • • • • More time to formulate answer Writing helps clarify views, time to edit Easier to wait it out Give several discussion options Join in!: Ask questions, summarize progress at end • Provide stellar examples • Require replies • Hold a real-time chat session Troubleshooting #1. No One’s Talking! • Determine why they aren’t talking. • Get them more acquainted. • Break in smaller groups. • Ask them to write down the answer and then call by name. • Encourage them with smiles, name, points. • Use the “good” students to get others involved. • Ask questions that require personal knowledge. • Make it count in their grade! Troubleshooting #2. Discussions Getting Heated • Define expectations early (“listen with respect”, “do not attack other students”) • Agreements are not always ideal. • Address the argument immediately. • Create an assignment from it. • Refer to book, other research. • Be well-prepared for this situation. • Online: Privately e-mail student, ask to modify post if necessary, post on board Troubleshooting #3. Discussions are Getting Off Track/Ineffective • Discussions require some structure • Give them a clear goal • Move students around and move yourself • Call on everyone during a two-week period • Assign a student leader • Acknowledge the problem #4. Boundary Issues • Many students might not used to an active classroom setting. • “Friendly” versus “Friends” Troubleshooting #5. Group Project Woes • Explain its’ value. • Define expectations early. • Give examples. • Designate a leader. • Assign individual grades. Conclusion • Discussions are vital to learning. • Personalize your course. • Ask the right questions. • Guide the discussion, don’t determine it. • Address issues immediately, and explain the value of disagreements. Conclusion • Create a warm, safe atmosphere for students, but don’t be their buddy! • Note what worked and what didn’t work (and ask your students). • Share your experiences with other teachers.