Course 1, Week 2: Understanding Student Learning

Again, this week I was lagging behind, prioritising enrolment, but I managed to complete the week without too many struggles.

After the amount of time to complete the previous weeks reflections, I’ll be trying to keep these reflections a little shorter (although I now have a hang of wordpress on domains, finally!).

In week 2 of Understanding Student Learning, the online module content covered: student diversity, the single story and deficit model, diverse ability groups and inclusive teaching and learning. I’ll do a short review on my learning below, as well as my final conclusion of the first two-week learning set.

Student Diversity

As mentioned in the previous week, we all have our own subjectivities and this means we need to take into account each students individual needs and life experiences when attempting to create lessons which involve and engage all (well, most).

Student diversity is impossible to ignore at Coventry University London, with our students coming from over 100 countries. Recognising this type of diversity is impressed upon all staff, ensuring we are able to reach all our customer bases.

In the course, we were asked to be creative and add our own visual representation of our students. Here’s my contribution, as well as my reflection, which took place later in the week (links to following subtitle):

The most useful part of this task was getting to grips with padlet, which I will definitely begin to implement in personal tutoring sessions.

We were then asked to give our opinion on diversity, and after a good reflection, I realised that for so long I had forgotten about all the factors that are covered under the umbrella of diversity, instead focussing on the Coventry University London international aspect.

Here’s my comment:

Following on from this, developing our learning and investigations, we were asked to select on aspect of student diversity to investigate. See my response below:

I still have to come back to this comment and hopefully will soon!

The single story and deficit

As you can see in my above student representations reflection, I have begun to learn about the single-story and deficit model. This fell under the above sub-title, but due to the content, I thought this needed its own section and an entire page screenshot:

Professior Gus John was able to share his personal story via a pre-recorded video for this module, one thing in particular stood out:

the question is why is it that 4 generations later, my parents have passed on, for better or worse I’m still here, my children have now got their children and my grandchildren are still being treated as black and minority ethnic in their schools. So, I have to ask myself how long, oh Lord, how long? How long would it take before we sweep away all of that rubbish and begin to understand that the more we stick with those categories, the more we allow some people in this society to feel that they belong and that others are to be tolerated?’

In this, Gus makes a completely valid point. Why is it that BME are underachieving in schools and in HE? The statistics available to show that minority ethnic groups are targeted are treated differently is astounding (educational triage comes to mind, as does self-fulfilling prophecy). If these stereotypes continue into HE, where is the hope?

Tackling the single story early in education is the best method to eradicating the issue in HE.

Diverse ability groups

Towards the end of the two week course, we were asked to tackle a difficult teaching situation, applying our learning.

Please see the situation, and my comment using a mixture of differentiated learning techniques.

Inclusive teaching and learning


Final conclusions

After this week and all of the discussions advocating for active and inclusive learning, it surprises me that the CUOnline course is so…. monotonous. As a sufferer of dyslexia, the amount of reading and the levels of discussions that take place can be… I do not want to say overwhelming, instead I’ll opt for ‘off putting’. There is a standard format to the online learning, a video and text or text then an article and per each page, the request to be involved in a discussion in the comments (and although this is not compulsory, I still feel nudged to complete the request). I think I have been unable to manage my time effectively within this course, because online modules have restricted my freedom to learn in my method. Lecturers may bore some and a teaching style I would never personal opt for, but I do love to be in the audience of a lecture when learning. I will press on, harnessing discussions and using the opportunities to collaborate, to apply my learning!

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