Importance of Theme “Enthusing students”
Being able to enthuse students is an essential part of a teacher’s job. Enthusiasm is an incredibly important part of teaching as it encourages students to be more engaged in lectures, seminars or practical lessons. As a result of the enthusiasm students are also more willing to learn and have a greater understanding of the subject. Students who are enthused are more likely to obtain a good degree classification and are more likely to be satisfied with their university experience.
Dr Jenny Stanford has been a lecturer in Physical Geography here in Swansea since 2012 where she has been exploring a range of innovative teaching strategies to engage and enthuse her students. In the clip below Jenny shares some insights at the SALT conference in July 2015.
Dr Phil Race, Addressing Student Satisfaction – adopted from material published in Making Teaching Work by Phil Race and Ruth Pickford, London: Sage, 2007).
How to make the subject interesting ?
- Legitimise some parts of the subject being less interesting than others. It’s a bad idea to pretend that the difficult bit is really interesting. Then we can go on to explain why the bit concerned is useful or necessary, or how it leads on to other things which are much more interesting.
- Don’t blame students for not being interested. We sometimes need to remind ourselves that our own particular subject is actually not going to be the most interesting thing that our students are encountering in their studies.
- Explain to students why they are doing the “less interesting” bit. Say what they’re for, where they fit into the big picture of the course or module, and where they lead to.
- Address students’ question “what’s in it for me to master this non-interesting bit ?” Explain how it leads to marks in exams or coursework assignments.
- Find something which is interesting about the less-interesting topic. It’s worth students remembering this bit even if it’s not particularly important.
The theme is also significant in relation to the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Academy Fellowship.
National Student Survey
The theme has been taken from the National Student Survey question “staff have made the subject interesting” under the category “The Teaching on my Course”.
In the recent 2014 NSS results 83% of students at Swansea University agreed that “staff have made the subject interesting”.
Higher Education Academy
The theme is also important in regards to the United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) as “staff are good at explaining things” contributes to Areas of Activity A2 teach and/or programmes of study and Core Knowledge K6 the implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching.
For more information on the UKPSF follow the link https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/professional-recognition/uk-professional-standards-framework-ukpsf