March 2018 West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Best Practices

Each month, the West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) team highlights topics of interest to our learning community in the West Campus Concentrate. We hope that you will find the information engaging and beneficial to your work in teaching and learning.

This month, our focus centers on student-driven learning.

Ted Talk Video: The Power of Student-Driven Learning — Shelley Wright at TEDxWestVancouverED

Do you have a student-driven learning environment? Have you ever given your students opportunities to pursue topics that they are passionate about? The impact of a student-centered learning environment is profound. Our Ted Talk video features Shelley Wright who is a passionate and student-centered educator. Shelley shares her story about the power of cultivating a student-driven learning environment. Her presentation focuses on the benefits of allowing students to have control of their own learning. She explains that student discovery drives learning, and, as an educator, it is her job to help make learning happen in the classroom.

When students are given the opportunities to take control of their own learning and when they are able to construct knowledge through collaboration and exploration, a manifestation of independence and understanding comes into existence. According to Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist and epistemologist known for his pioneering work in child development, if students are able to understand, then they will be able to formulate new ideas. If students are able to engage with others and learn from others, then students will be able to develop their own sense of self-efficacy and individuality.

Because Valencia College embraces a student-driven culture, our March article centers around learning theories such as social constructivism and social cognitive theory — because these types of theories promote and enhance student learning. When our activities or learning environment creates opportunities for students to become explorers, the possibilities for improving student learning are endless.

Featured Faculty: Courtney Gegenheimer, Professor, Mathematics 

Our very own West Campus Professor of Mathematics Courtney Gegenheimer is this month’s featured faculty member. Courtney encourages active learning in her classroom, and her ultimate goal for her students is to be successful in her class. In her video, she shares how she facilitates an active learning activity called Quiz Quiz Trade, and she explains how it met the learning outcomes for her course.

Courtney teaches primarily Intermediate Algebra, Intro to Statistics and Statistical Methods in both face-to-face and online formats.

To view her lesson plan, click here.

Upcoming Events and Professional Development

Listed below are faculty development courses that can assist you in developing a student-driven learning environment in your classroom.Featured Active Learning Activity

Quiz Quiz Trade Activity

This cooperative-learning technique has students review information with other students by asking and answering questions. Working with peers in a nonthreatening manner builds confidence, encourages greater participation and results in more thoughtful discussions. Provided by the Teacher Toolkit.

Electronic Resources/Tools:

  1. The Key Ingredients to Students’ Success in a College Course
  2. Five Characteristics of Learner-Centered Teaching 

Professional Development Library Resources (Available in the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation):

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (2009). Inquiry as stance: Practitioner research for the next generation. New York: Teachers College Press.

Social Media:

For more great tools to use in your classroom, follow TeachValencia on Facebook or Twitter.

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