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The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

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Page 1: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

The fine line between spoon-feeding and

educational support

Carol Withey

Department of Law

University Of Greenwich

Page 2: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Aims of this session

To identify one particular learning problem faced by many students entering higher education

To explore strategies to address this problem

To assess whether these strategies impact on learning

To discuss possible criticisms including whether this is ‘spoon feeding’

Page 3: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

A new problem facing degree students

Difficulty in conducting independent learning

How do we know this? Students doing bear minimum ( even very good ones) –

total reliance on course materials Students’ unwillingness to read books! (Wikipedia is God) Students asking for draft work to be marked Students telling us!

Page 4: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Why is this the case?

Increased teacher and parent input in course work whilst at school

School process of checking course work and giving students chance to make corrections

Easy access to the internet leads to an over reliance on non specialist sources

Ability to ‘cut and paste’ without internalising the material

Modern day distractions

Page 5: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Impact on learning at degree level

Students are required to make a substantial leap in terms of what is expected of them

Many can not cope with this. It is alien to them and they lack the confidence to learn on their own

Disengagement and poor performance

Page 6: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

My experience

‘Bridging the gap’

Subjects I teach – Criminal law and evidence

Level 2 and 3

Very demanding ( time and content)

Page 7: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

I Have taught these subjects to a wide variety of students over 12 years

Relied upon various teaching strategies

And the winner is?.....

Page 8: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Strategies to enhance learning

Aim – to give in depth notes and other learning aids, with a view to engaging students. This will encourage additional independent learning

For example……………………

Page 9: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

PowerPoint lectures

Bright and colourful

Animation

Sound effects

Humour

Page 10: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Homicide

Murder and manslaughte

r

Page 11: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Manslaughter

Page 12: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Manslaughter

Voluntary manslaughter Involuntary manslaughter

1. Diminished responsibility 1. Unlawful & dangerous act manslaughter

2. Provocation 2. Gross negligence manslaughter

3. Killing in pursuance of suicide 3. Reckless manslaughter pact

Page 13: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Wounding and causing

grievous bodily harm with intent

Page 14: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Subject booklets

Content- detailed – students can concentrate on listening

Spaces to write in details

Questions and answers

Graphics

Page 15: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

s

[See visualiser

Page 16: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Seminars

Strong emphasis on how to structure questions

Suggested answers to all seminar questions via WebCT

Poor attenders are denied access until they show evidence of the work

Page 17: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Provided via WebCT

In relation to specific topics

Pre-reading for forthcoming lectures Revision charts Flow charts

Other learning support

Page 18: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

General support

Exercise in question spotting

How to structure questions

Common errors in answering questions

Page 19: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Feedback from 85 students

(criminal law)

Rate the content of the lecture booklets 

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Rate the amount you learn from the booklets  

Page 21: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Rate usefulness of extra questions & answers in the booklets

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Page 22: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

“Easy to follow and not like a textbook, I learn large amounts from the booklets”

l like the fact that if you miss something you have it in the lecture booklets”

Easy to read and understand and read again– I learn a lot from the booklets. They help when you are at home before you begin reading a daunting textbook”

“The questions in the booklet after every topic were really useful”

“ Your lecture booklets are a great idea and really helpful- however a shame it is not common practice”

“Bloody brilliant teaching !– your teaching and booklets are amazing”

Page 23: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Rate amount you generally learn in seminars

  

Rate amount you generally learn in seminars– 85

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Page 24: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Rate the emphasis on how to structure answers

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Rate usefulness of suggested answers to seminar questions

Page 26: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

 

“The structure for answering questions is really useful and a technique to remember”

“At the beginning I was completely lost as to how to structure a problem question. I have been using the template since the first week and find that it helps”

“Seminars are helpful and the answers are very good to find out where I went wrong”

Your seminars are one of the best. You are very engaging and teach whilst you are doing it. It is good to have suggested answers. It shows whether you are on the right track or not!” -

Page 27: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

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Rate the power point presentations 

Page 28: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

“The most random use of visuals I have seen in a lecture; but in a good way!”

“I like the power points- they have amusing bits to lighten up the hard memorising!”

“The drawings are funny and surprising!- my brain is really engaged in lectures”

“ I love the sound effects etc, it makes the lecture fun!- I learn a lot from the lectures”

“The power point presentations are one of the best in the University”

Page 29: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

“The lectures are great - I really learn a lot from them. I cannot possibly think how you could make the lectures more exciting or interesting because they already are!

“The power point is excellent, the visual image helps in remembering cases and it is one of the lectures that I stay focused in. It is clear and consistent and highly organised “

“I have never been able to remember so many cases as after your lectures”

“The presentations are engaging and I usually remember the cases by remembering the presentations- I learn a lot from the lecture, and when I get back to my notes they are not alien to me.

“Lectures are very fascinating and interesting, not just myself but other students are much more focused”

Page 30: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Excellent Good Average Poor

Rate usefulness of revision charts on WebCT  

Page 31: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

“Thank you for all the extra resources you have

provided in your spare time that you did not have to do”

“Webct is great! So much fun to go on to, less

boring that other Webcts”

“It seems like a lot of effort was put towards the

presentation of the webct site- the most colour and

vibrant of all the subjects” 

“Thanks for the revision quiz, it is very useful.

Looking forward to more” 

Page 32: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

This feedback was for the criminal law course. Feedback for other courses is similar.

Page 33: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Impact on learning

The student feedback indicates that this level of support does impact on learning

The support has enabled students to grasp the essentials of a topic

Students are then confident enough to conduct their own additional independent research and reading. This increases knowledge and understanding

Page 34: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Criticisms Some would consider this level of support to be ‘spoon-

feeding’

Some would argue that degree students should be mainly responsible for their own learning

Some would argue that this level of support defeats the purpose of the degree ethos

Some would argue that it is a waste of time as students like to make their own notes

Some would argue that it encourages students to become lazy or ‘switch off’

Some would argue that it de-motivates some students, especially the most academic ones

Page 35: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Responses : Spoon-feeding

The support does not involve draft reading of work

The support does not involve a ‘correction service’

The support does not involve seminar questions and suggested answers that closely mirror exam and assignment questions

The support does not involve teaching to the exam

The support does not exclude the requirement for independent research

Page 36: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Degree students should be mainly responsible for their own learning

This remains the case

Some would argue that this level of support defeats the purpose of the degree ethos

Degrees of course require independent learning, but when students are given very basic materials problems arise

Page 37: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Some would argue that it is a waste of time as students like to make their own notes

Students should and do make their own notes, but many base their notes on the materials and add from their own reading . This does not make the provision of notes a waste of time

Some would argue it encourages students to become lazy or ‘switch off’

There is a danger here in lectures, but this can be avoided

Page 38: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Some would argue that it de-motivates some students, especially the most academic ones

I have seen no evidence of this. The student feedback is from across a range of abilities

Page 39: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Conclusion:

Identification of problems re making the transission from school to higher education

Strategies for bridging the gap

Impact on grades is difficult to assess, but noticeable difference in exam performance re structure

Page 40: The fine line between spoon-feeding and educational support Carol Withey Department of Law University Of Greenwich

Thank you for listening

Please ask questions