Changing a university culture to embed student learning partnerships

Shrinika Weerakoon

Abstract


A common complaint from university lecturers is that students are ‘not interested’ and that it’s ‘difficult to get students engaged in learning’, portraying a passive student nature and student-blame culture. This paper draws on experiences at a university in a developing nation, Sri Lanka, where a student-led national insurrection led to thousands of student deaths, requiring universities to change teaching attitudes and the methods used to train those graduating. The article describes how a teaching-learning partnership evolved and was sustained to improve student learning and skills. Lecturer training-course comments and related student responses were analysed and lecturers were asked to use a 'script' when teaching. Initially, the script had only an 'Instructional Component', responding directly to staff complaints that students failed to follow, or followed poorly, guidance for effective learning. When that too failed, a further analysis led to the incorporation of a 'Motivational Component' to this script, which specifically clarified for students the partnership roles of teachers and students in order to bring about specified student learning benefits. This proved most effective in embedding a successful teaching-learning partnership, which engaged students and increased learning; it also changed lecturers' culture and their conceptions about student passivity.


Keywords


engagement; change; higher education; skills, training

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21100/jeipc.v3i2.544

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