27 March 2013

Keynote by Dr. Vincent Tinto at the 2013 Transformative Learning Conference

Transformative Learning Conference - 2013
Mobilizing and Assessing Student Transformative Learning - Threshold of Change

Introduction to the conference - Transformative Experience - in a few words by students: engaged, impactful, uncomfortable, one student said they understood what a transformative learning looked like after they were finished studying abroad and came back to Oklahoma.
There is a delegation here from Thailand. When asked why they were here replied, “We want to learn something new.” I hope that’s why we are all here. The question is, what are students learning and how are they learning it? In fact, how do we know they are learning it?

Dr. Vincent Tinto - Keynote - Transforming the Learning Experiences of Academically Underprepared Students
There is educational inequality in the US.

Very few students who start even just one level below college, finish a gateway course. So if we keep seeing this problem, why are we still doing what we are doing?

**If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten.**

FYI, nobody rises to low expectations. Student quote: “My favorite teachers were always the ‘ass-kickers’.”

What we need to do is provide contextualized support. They need support for the class in which they are working, i.e. bridge, supplemental instruction, embedded faculty support, etc. This all sounds like good pedagogy. Differentiated instruction. The students who need help get help. They engage with the information multiple times, they form study groups.

Learning Communities - overlapping classes in which students are taught the same information in both classes where the context of one supports the context of the other. Co-curricular and co-teaching.

Accelerated learning. Instead of being placed in lower courses, students at a lower level are placed in “normal” courses and they get up to level by also enrolling in a supplemental study course. Contextualized support. This begs the question of assessment.

Power pedagogy is a must in transformative learning. This can look like project-based learning, cooperative learning, collaborative learning, learning communities, and/or service learning. There’s a difference between group work and cooperative group work.

Expanded engagement in learning - when students talk to each other about the class, they learn more. Just getting involved with students more in the class is increasing their learning.” - anecdotal, I’d love to see research on this. Learning together is better and students’ sense of self is transformed. “If you are constantly having to think, re-think, and even re-re-think in light of other’s feedback, then you know something like you are not dumb.” Constructivism. Student learn to make their own meaning of the knowledge.

Transformative learning is purposeful. IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT. It must be the result of intentional, structured, and proactive actions that are systematic and coordinated in application. Since this isn’t happening for students at home, it has to happen in the classroom. In the same way that we cannot leave student success to chance, we cannot leave good pedagogy, assessment, development theory, etc. to chance. Our faculty must be trained. They must be required. However, we must eat the elephant one bite at a time. We can’t this overnight. We must take this in pieces.

So why do learning communities not work? Faculty are the problem. They have to collaborate. Look for courses that share characteristics. Learn in groups in ways that allow them to apply what they are learning. The communities scale up best within a major and/or best early in the career.

How do you best implement this learning strategy in online settings? The success of students from high income to low income is a large disparity. The intent of MOOCs should not be just an electronic lecture class. Consider which courses should be online. The best predictor of student success in online learning is how quickly faculty give feedback.

How do we apply the same concepts to academic advising? Focusing on student learning and activities. We often talk about extra-curricular and the “process” of college. So students are learning outside the classroom, as well. They are just learning through their experience.

Service learning. What could this look like? Do we have anything that could incorporate service learning into our classes?

No comments:

Post a Comment