Adaptation by Stéphanie Carle, Editor-in-Chief, Pédagogie collégiale
How many explanations do teachers provide in a given week? Explanations are, not only one of the activities most central to education, but also one of the most important. However, we rarely take the time to plan them. This short article suggests seven hints to help educators give clear explanations that promote learning.
Young people’s academic motivation is a matter of constant concern in the college and university community. Instructors have observed a lack of engagement in classroom, delays in graduating, changes in direction, dropping out, and so on. In order to better understand the dynamics of motivation at the postsecondary level, Marie-France Noël, co-author of this article, conducted a study on the value students place on their studies, courses, and curriculum, as well as the influence social relationships have on student perceptions of that value. In the light of this research, the article deals specifically with faculty contributions to the perceived value of courses, shedding light on the forms such contributions can take.
The researchers conducted studies that attest to the fact that pedagogy is more important than socio-technological environments in improving conceptual gains, and highlight the major differences that can occur when using a student-centred versus a teacher-centred approach. By making student learning and teaching practices the focus of the article, the authors show how the integration of new socio-technological environments must be accompanied by student-centered active learning if the advantages of those environments are to be fully exploited.
Governmental course requirements, exit profiles, framework plans, syllabuses, and other such documents stipulate the attitudes college students should demonstrate upon completing their curriculum. Medical-electrophysiology students, for example, are expected to treat patients with respect; those in the natural sciences must place a premium on accuracy; art, literature, and communications students must demonstrate open-mindedness; those in building-services technology have to be resourceful, and so on. However, does being respectful, accurate, open minded, or resourceful mean the same thing to faculty and students? How can we assess these attitudes without being arbitrary? The process is difficult, and subjecting student performance to our professional judgment is a major responsibility. In this interview by Isabelle Delisle, France Côté explains how to carry out this task using a descriptive scale inspired by a taxonomy from the affective field.
Shedding light on her unique experience and love for the profession, this conversation with Ms Denise Barbeau, teacher, researcher, author and a figurehead of college teaching in Quebec, reveals the latter’s insights on the qualities inherent in a good teacher. According to Ms Barbeau, in addition to specialized knowledge of their discipline, good teachers must have a clear idea of what they want their students to learn and be able to do, and then select the strategies that will make it possible to reach this objective. Punctuated by eloquent metaphors, the words of Ms Barbeau go straight to the heart of her main preoccupation: student learning. She emphasizes the importance of the affective dimension of teaching, of the teacher-student relationship, particularly in a competency-based approach whose advantages she also underscores. When students feel supported by their teacher, they are motivated and learn more. Ms Barbeau also comments on the stress experienced by students and briefly recalls her beginnings in teaching, re-visiting the kind of pedagogical questioning that led her to return to school to pursue studies in psychopedagogy. In ending, she delivers a rousing testimony on the passion and joys of teaching.
According to the authors, there is a need for students to become active participants in classroom activities in order to play a more meaningful role in the learning process. This article, which is a follow-up on an earlier article published by the same authors in Pédagogie collégiale in 2002, offers an overview of dramatic-art techniques that can be used as tools for teaching psychology and other social-science disciplines. Based on their experience of using techniques such as the monologue, the hot seat and the expert panel, they advocate the use of these tools, which require no advanced technology whatsoever, judging them to be effective in fostering active student participation. After a brief historical review, the authors describe in greater detail how to use the monologue in different psychology courses. In doing so, they provide numerous examples of the particular aspects of implementing this dramatic technique that can also be used with other techniques to maximize student learning. They emphasize that it is possible to use the monologue in other courses, including sociology, political science and history, the only limitation being the teacher’s own imagination.
From the perspective of chemistry as a contributory discipline, a teacher shares her reflections on the contextualization of this discipline in her teaching, a course in respiratory therapy. After discovering that ministerial specifications include no competency in chemistry, even though it is essential to the practice of the profession of respiratory therapist, the author realizes that she must find a way to make the students understand the link between their professional practice and their chemistry course. After relating her initiation process in respiratory therapy, including visits to hospitals and consultation with her respiratory therapist colleagues, the author presents an integrating diagram, in which each notion is linked to a practical application. Based on this experience, she concludes that in order to choose course contents correctly and for the subsequent learning to achieve its full meaning for students, the teacher must be willing to explore the professional environment in which these contents will be implemented. Thanks to their openness and collaboration, her colleagues in the technical program played a major role in this process.
The concept of universal accessibility, which originated in the field of architecture, assumes it is possible to design products and environments that are accessible to everyone. It was this concept, for example, that led to the design of flush landings for sidewalks at intersections—a feature that helps, not only individuals who use a wheelchair, but also anyone pushing a baby stroller or transporting items on a dolly. This article introduces the nine principles of universal accessibility in education, as well as examples of how they can be implemented. By adopting this approach, we ensure that all students develop to their full potential, even if they are disabled.