Archive | October 2013

Demonstrating real engagement in the classroom

One of my Business Stats leaders wrote this in her session report this week:

Q: Students lead in U:PASS for a wide variety of reasons – to mentor, to gain leadership skills, to improve communication skills, to get educational experience, to see what it’s like working for UTS.  What’s something you feel you have gained in one (or more) of these areas over the last fortnight? Why? (You may also choose another area if you wish!) 🙂

A: It is really great to see students putting a big effort into learning so I really like it when they ask questions and further analyse questions. This makes the class interesting and provides for good interaction and is also challenging for me when students questions things!

The “hovering ghost” model

One of my leaders was struggling with facilitating the students without him being the centre of it, a la bicycle wheel or the graphic at the top. I asked him to see if he could get the students interacting with each other and then facilitate around them. He wrote in his session report:

A: Students are much more open to asking each other questions rather than directing the questions to me now that I’ve begun using your model of becoming the ‘hovering ghost’ so they have to bounce off each other instead of rebounding off me.

#LOVE #IT

From the mouths of babes

Q: Students lead in U:PASS for a wide variety of reasons – to mentor, to gain leadership skills, to improve communication skills, to get educational experience, to see what it’s like working for UTS.  What’s something you feel you have gained in one (or more) of these areas over the last fortnight? Why? (You may also choose another area if you wish!) 🙂

A: U:Pass has helped me see learning from a different perspective. One reason I do it is to help supplement the rigid and sometimes unhelpful traditional university learning. U:Pass can help students realise the benefits of working together and I think educating students on other ways to learn is useful. U:Pass indirectly exposes students to another method and gets them to see study from a different light.

Plumbing the shallows of our mind

Downstairs from my office there is a big area where students hangout – you can frequently find students playing table tennis or cards. Today the students were talking about an online game. It reminded me of what I wrote about yesterday, when I linked to a couple of videos put together by an ethnographer in USA about the students today.

One of the most important issues I think the videos bring up is that the possibilities of distraction are so endless in our world these days. I’ve noticed it in my own mind – emails distract me, sms distract me, Facebook distracts me. I used to read books – mostly novels, sure – but books. With 200 pages. 400 pages. 600 pages. Now I read twitter. It’s 140 characters. When I get a bit of time, I go back and read the articles I’ve favorited, rarely more than 500 words at a time.

This is the thesis of a book that, totally ironically, I keep picking up and reading and putting down again: The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It’s (so far!) a fascinating read into how our brains are changing.

So I guess the point of this post is this: PASS and peer learning means that students are:

– connecting IRL (that’s in real life)

– helping IRL

– learning IRL

– growing IRL

We need this type of learning more than ever in this modern world where

….

….

oh wait I just got distracted by an email 🙂

A vision of students today

I first saw the first vision of students today video at the 2008 FYE National Conference in Hobart. I’ve watched it at least 10 times since.

At the PASS forum last week Cathy Unite from the University of Texas (Arlington) showed us the latest version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrXpitAlva0  I think the first one is better, but they’re both good insights.

I think both show how much PASS is needed in Universities in the 21st century.

Leader already has a job at the end of 2nd year – this is why…

One of my leaders is stepping back from leading in 2014, despite still studying full-time. It’s because it’s likely he will be working part-time for a bank (which shall remain nameless).

Listen to how the interview went:

Q: Students lead in U:PASS for a wide variety of reasons – to mentor, to gain leadership skills, to improve communication skills, to get educational experience, to see what it’s like working for UTS.  What’s something you feel you have gained in one (or more) of these areas over the last fortnight? Why? (You may also choose another area if you wish!) 🙂

A: In my [bank] interview I was asked to describe scenarios where I: delivered results for the customer, was able to see a particular scenario from a different point of view, how I adapted to unexpected changes and how I maintained a positive attitude, how I worked in a team etc. Out of all my roles on my CV, I talked about U:PASS the most eg. how I collaborated with x, y and z [other U:PASS leaders] to run a revision session in Autumn that had 75 students attendance. I realised that UPASS has given me alot and was particularly helpful in getting a role with [bank] over the Summer.

A leader describes what it takes to succeed at University

A conversation I’ve had often is how do you have student leaders who can facilitate with so little training? It’s really a bigger question: How do you find great people?

Well, you look for passion. We all know that. But even so, I’m still sometimes incredibly awed at the way my leaders demonstrate that passion, and how much they care for the needs of the students in their care. They really do get student engagement and they really are passionate about it. This session report from a leader talking about how he struggles to engage extroverts demonstrates this perfectly:

Q: Students lead in U:PASS for a wide variety of reasons – to mentor, to gain leadership skills, to improve communication skills, to get educational experience, to see what it’s like working for UTS.  What’s something you feel you have gained in one (or more) of these areas over the last fortnight? Why? (You may also choose another area if you wish!) 🙂

A: It’s only in this last week struck me that what you do when engaging with introverts is so different to what to do when dealing with extroverts! I feel that I can catch and hold the attention of introverts and provide value, but I’m struggling so much to do the same for students on the extroverted side of the spectrum. I feel that every time leave students feeling disconnected or unengaged, I’m wasting an immense opportunity – so many students don’t readily volunteer to study (show commitment), ask questions (show vulnerability), and excel in the face of adversity (show perseverance/resilience/determination).

What insight into student engagement!! Students need commitment, vulnerability, perseverance, resilience and determination.  

 

How old is this leader, you ask?

22. This leader is 22.