Tertiary teaching in New Zealand/Academic skills/What makes a great learner?/Participation

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Adult learners are generally  better at participation than younger learners. Although this is a generalisation, it is a common observation in tertiary education. Some observable indicators of participation and intrinsic motivation are that learners:

  • Begin learning activities without resistance.
  • Prefer challenging aspects of tasks.
  • Spontaneously relate learning to outside interests.
  • Ask questions to expand their understanding beyond the learning at hand.
  • Go beyond required work.
  • Find joy in the process of learning - the studying, writing, reading, etc.
  • Are proud of their learning and its consequences

The classroom context can be challenging for some students, and challenging for the teacher to encourage active participation opportunities for everyone. Here is an interesting list of suggestions for stimulating classroom participation from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and an excellent article on encouraging participation in classroom discussions from a journal called "The Teaching Professor".

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What are your preferred techniques for stimulating learner participation in a classroom setting? You may also draw some inspiration from the two links above, or from other sources that you find. Prepare a brief teaching session on any topic that you are familiar with, and show how three such techniques could be used. If you are a distance student, submit this plan to your tutor. If you are enrolled at Otago Polytechnic, you will be asked to give the teaching session to your colleagues!