(Each month, I write a “From the Director” column for the UBC Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning newsletter.)
I’m really excited about the 13th annual UBC Okanagan Learning Conference, May 3-4, 2017. This year’s theme is “Engaging Every Learner.” We’ll explore how we can design, assess, and facilitate learning that engages every learner, allowing each student to build their own knowledge and contribute their own strengths to their learning and the learning of their classmates and instructors.
It’s about moving beyond students (plural) -centered teaching to student (singular) -centered teaching. What are you doing to ensure each, unique student in your class is welcomed and supported? What are you doing to ensure each student looks forward to your class, knowing they’ll have an opportunity to make an authentic, personal contribution to their learning, their classmates’ learning, and your learning?
Let’s be honest: this is hard, especially in introductory, content-heavy courses with hundreds of students.
The good news is, creating a transformational experience for each student doesn’t mean providing opportunities for every student to contribute to every class. Imagine this: imagine if just once during the term, on the way out of the classroom, each student said,
Today’s class was better because of me. It mattered that I was here.
That’s transformational. And I’m pretty confident that student’s next words would be, “I’m definitely coming to the next class.”
That’s what “Engaging Every Learner” is about. It’s not just about content and how to teach that content. It’s about designing your course so you’ll be able to recognize each student’s strengths and then create the environment that empowers them to contribute.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Sarah Eddy, will share her research into the critical importance of instructors providing structure to what and how their students learn.
My goal for this conference is to engage every learner. I hope you’ll join us and then let me know if you were truly, authentically engaged. If you have promising practices or research to share, I encourage you to submit a proposal by February 28 for a workshop, seminar, or conference poster.
You can find information about registration and proposals on the conference website, learningconference.ok.ubc.ca