Converse and encourage conversation as a method of teaching to facilitate learning and maintain your valuable environment.

Don’t be afraid to be chatty.  In fact, being too quiet is almost gloomy.  Allow the students to create their own conversational flow but always jump in and encourage their thoughts and grading, too, is key conversation.  (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) Successes, here, ask for the following tools:

  • Monitoring all work for what is right, wrong, wonderful or witty
  • Constantly giving feedback
  • Asking questions both to clarify and to prompt
  • Challenging and encouraging healthy responses
  • Reaching out to students

Conversing and grading are all about recognizing the adult student’s experiences and perceptions and being respectful of them, as this helps foster inclusion and attitude (Knowles, 2005) and  Things like a genuine and not overdone thank you to students for their online posts, homework submissions, or exams allows simple recognition of their time and efforts, which will likely open the educational vessels for a greater receptacle and larger informational flow.  Also, when monitoring all work for what is right, wrong, wonderful, or witty, constant feedback is a must.  Although highlighted separately, they really are inseparable.  Tools for success can include:

  1. Starting with positive and honest observations and critiques of student work
  2. As much as possible, do not be negative — offer additional insights to what they do know to be right, offer encouragement so they reach out and tap into what they are doing wrong by highlighting specific areas for improvement
  3. Converse in a way that is true and inquisitive — ask questions that seek to understand individual and collective student perspectives and understandings.  Are students understanding the material?  What are students trying to convey or ask through their forum conversations?
  4. Facilitating healthy and challenging responses is largely facilitated by the type of feedback you give and the questions you ask
  5. Reaching out to students and being proactive is conversation that may help create and save positive educational experiences and minimize negative undertones particularly if the student is struggling with producing work

Frequent, fantastic feedback and encouragement are paramount here.  Even if not completely positive, feedback can and should still be encouraging.  Particularly when grading, be direct, firm and infuse clarity in where the strengths and weaknesses of learning lie.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed.) Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Knowles, M.S., Holton, E.F. & Swanson, R.A. (2005)   The adult learner: the definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Oxford: Elsevier.

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