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How to benefit from learning interventions

1 March 2016

Teachers do their very best within the sometimes overwhelming constraints to achieve the best with their learners. However, sometimes the best is simply not enough. The repercussions on the learners can be either immediate or later on in the programme or even in life; I have experienced it so I know. It is with pain that I sometimes recall how my lecturer handled programming courses in C and C++. Java’s was an improvement, but it was not enough [for me]. It is no excuse though, because my colleague and friend Samuel, is doing wonderful things with Java. So as a good teacher you have realised your learners lack of a certain skill say programming in PHP, and you want to organise some one-hour after-class tutorials for the students so that they can better appreciate a course you are handling – say Software Engineering. It is not your job; the PHP lecturer should have done this, but did not do it. You discuss with your dean, and reminds your of a more important need to write and publish; especially when your first conference paper just came in with over ten paragraphs of reviewers’ comments. What do you do? Well, I will ask, how can I benefit from this service I so itch to give these learners? It may sound selfish, but there is no free lunch. So the solution is teaching scholarship.

Take an action research approach. Conceptualise the learners’ need for PHP tutorials as a research problem. Gather a few interview feedback to back the existence of the learners’ problem – having in mind that this is a research project you are undertaking, and not merely some tutorials you are benevolently offering… so you must needs publish a paper out of this project. Undertake a literature review of remedial actions other teachers have instituted. Describe your action research design. After the set tutorial period, gather learners’ feedback of how they think your remedy i.e. tutorial sessions helped them appreciate the course [Software Engineering] – paper one. Gather another set of data about their perceptions of how the tutorials will help them in future endeavours say work place success – paper two. Do not be restricted to just these papers; find other opportunities around your remedial actions for more papers so that you can fill several bottles in a spray – and “you will hear the singing of the birds” [because you did not kill two birds with one stone].

Share with me below how you have been benefitting from remedial actions and interventions you institute for your learners.


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