'Mind the gap…'

Zhu, Xiaotong and Pownall, Ian (2022) 'Mind the gap…'. In: Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2022, 5-7 July, University of Northumbria.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


• To share the key findings from the series of staff development workshops delivered within one UK university
• To support staff and students in firstly identifying ‘crunch point’ and then determining coping behavior when engaging with the unease and uncertainty of a new learning experience.
Sfard and Prusak’s (2005) ‘cognitive disruption’ and Blasco’s (2015) ‘learning moment’ is examined through a reflective cycle with Business School staff seeking to explore surfaced students’ experienced ‘crunch points’ in engagement and their coping behavior. The resulting workshops explore staff assumptions in the engagement and delivery of their learning materials. We pitched this as ‘understanding the gaps’ for staff and students in exploring how learning materials are delivered and actually engaged with by students and where gaps are identified, what interventions can be followed to narrow the gap and importantly facilitate student engagement.
Our proposed session will draw upon our researched examples of reported ‘crunch points’ featuring student worry, anxiety and critical learning moments with matched student coping responses (emotional, situational, cognitive, and behavioural) from across a Business School and wider disciplinary context within a post-92 university. These examples reflect the voices of those less willing or likely to provide feedback or guidance about their educational experience (those who attend but grade poorly, those who attend and grade well, those who don’t attend but grade well for example). We also compared these examples to the assumptions staff made to seek to identify and understand gaps. In the session, we will include interactive questions asking the audience to reflect and consider their assumptions about the delivery of learning materials and where they could address the scope of moments typically identified in their teaching contexts.
Theme 1 and 4: Our staff development workshops were designed to address one issue for the student-facing staff in Higher Education (HE) – to task reflection on one aspect of their pedagogy – how learning materials are delivered and engaged with by learners from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.. As such our work fits into wider EDI and decolonization themes but remains practically focused on what HE staff can do and what gaps students tell us about. It is about hearing student voices, learning from and reflecting upon differences in experience and practice.
We focused upon student voices seeking to understand their pain, worry and anxieties. This extended beyond the formal student rep. system as an input shaping the practice of HE tutors. A framework developed in the Business School is being engaged with more widely across the University now.
• HE practitioners and professional staff
• Other stakeholders in HE such as senior leaders.

Keywords:student success, worry and disruption, coping
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:Professional services > Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute
ID Code:51949
Deposited On:30 Sep 2022 09:11

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