Tips for Engaging the Struggling Learner

Courtesy of Andrew Marcinek comes this fabulous list:

1. Have fun

I hope that this project will make writing a paper a more engaging process. Many times, students go through the motions in pursuit of the grade while missing out on the learning. This is where I hope this project will take us in a different direction. Too many times in higher education grades are obtained and learning is left behind. This is where that routine changes. I want you to become an expert on the issue you are covering and enjoy the process of research and writing.

2. Learn beyond the walls

Every week we enter our classroom and shut the door. There are no windows, one computer, and eight outlets. However, most of you possess devices that connect you to the outside world and to numerous contacts. Some of you are probably reading this on a mobile device. What is wrong with this picture? It is a skewed vision of what learning should be. Therefore, this project will take our class beyond the walls and windowless concrete and carry us into a world that is constantly connected and moving.

3. Expand your audience

I read your paper. I edit your paper. I grade your paper. Yawn. While I am an objective, worthy audience, I am simply one person. Today’s student has the ability to reach out to millions on a daily basis and simply ask, “Is this good?” This project will present many windows to your work and engage you in a learning community beyond the walls of the Science Center. Learning should be transparent and open. Please allow others to collaborate with you as we engage in a new learning community.

4. Collaborate

One of our best resources as learners is our ability to connect. We can connect like never before and have the opportunity to engage with others from around the world on a daily basis. If we can learn anything from the web 2.0 generation it is that the ability to share and learn from each other is limitless.

5. Deconstruct an issue transparently

This project will open up your research and allow others to see how you are progressing. This project will model an environment of constructive criticism and intellectual discourse. There is no room for bullying or inappropriate criticism. This environment will employ transparency so that we can share and learn from each other.

6. Make many mistakes along the way

Unlike traditional assignments where mistakes are marked wrong, this project will mark your mistakes as learning steps. I encourage you to take risks and seek out information beyond what you think may or may not be right. In this forum, being right is hardly the end goal. Rather, the pursuit of greater understanding while exercising all of your options within a moral and ethical framework.

7. Share

What happens when you take notes within a notebook? You eventually close that notebook and put it into a bag, or drawer. Only you possess that information. This is hardly the way our world works today and hardly the way we will conduct our research for this project. By conducting research that is transparent, it will allow us to use a variety of sources and learn from each other.

8. Provide Constructive Criticism

One of the benefits of transparent learning is the ability to not only receive feedback from the instructor but to seek feedback from a much larger audience. This community we are creating will allow us to bounce ideas and critique work as we progress. While I will also take part in this critique, I urge you to consult your classmates for feedback and suggestions.

9. Eat a sandwich

A sandwich is like a well-constructed argumentative essay. It contains many layers but is constructed in a central…Ok, I can’t continue with this nonsense. Just make a sandwich and enjoy it.

10. Engage Others

This type of work will require you to engage an audience and be a participatory learner. It is hard to sit back and coast in this format and will require each student to be an active participant in the learning process. I look forward to learning from each of you and creating a community of resources.

Click on the link to read The Ultimate Classroom Resource for Teaching About Comics

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important

Click on the link to read Captain Phonics to the Rescue!

Click on the link to read the Phonics debate.


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