The 24th annual Facet Associate Faculty and Lecturer Conference (FALCON)
November 15-16, 2019
Crowne Plaza Indianapolis
Maximizing Opportunity: Helping Students Where They Are
In higher education, we want the entry to the classroom to be democratic and the exit to lead to meaningful lives. And in alignment with the former, our classes are filled with a wide variety of students, coming to us with successes and failures, trials and tribulations, moods, longer and shorter attention spans, differing limits on working memory, large support systems, isolated, living with privilege, overcoming poverty, mainstream, marginalized, healthy, ill, and on and on. This diversity is what we want, and it presents great challenges and great opportunity for learning.
To maximize learning, educational psychology tells us we want to teach in our students’ “zone of proximal development.” We have challenges to teach in this zone. Here are a few:
- Our students all differ in their development
- Teaching methodologies may fail to reveal what our students’ know, especially on an ongoing basis
- The classroom environment may shut down students, cause stereotype threat, increased marginalization, or confusion
- We are experts, prone to the curse of knowledge, the inability to see concepts through the novice’s eyes
- Assumptions about student preparation regarding content, technological know-how, or access to resources are often wrong
- Our students’ lives are real and can demand their attention…
But methods to overcome these challenges have been studied. These methods happen at the campus level, at the course design level, and in day-to-day teaching and learning. This leads to our theme at this year’s FALCON: Maximizing Opportunity: Helping Students Where They Are.