Context as well content

 

When developing unit materials and teaching plans for your tutors (and/or sessional staff), think about how you might contextualise the content. For example, when you include readings, write a brief statement that provides students with some context for these readings and how they link with the concepts you’re teaching, or ask some questions that help focus students’ attention to particular aspects of the readings.

Use contextualising statements to help scaffold student learning and consider posing questions to students as part of these statements.

You could pose one or two of the following questions:

What are the key ideas raised in this reading/lecture and how do they link with the central concept/issue/topic we’re learning more about this week?
What’s one point raised in the readings/lecture you want to learn more about and how might you go about learning more?
What continues to puzzle you in relation to what you read/heard? Why do you think you remain puzzled?
Was there anything you disagreed with in what you read/heard this week? Why do you think that’s the case?
When reading/viewing, what strategies do you use to ensure you’re making connections between these ideas and others you’ve read/heard on the same topic? What other strategies might you use to make connections between ideas?
Why might you have been asked to read this particular reading?
What are three key points you took from the reading/lecture you could share with your peers? What makes you confident you could talk with some authority about these three key points?
What questions do you have for the author or about the ideas/concepts being discussed?
What information is missing from this reading, or not covered in enough detail for you to understand it completely?
If you were to begin to develop a concept map of the information you’re learning about, what would you include from this reading/lecture?
What strategies has the author used to convey the information clearly and in an easily understandable way? Which of these strategies could you use in your own assignment work?

These are questions for students to ponder without having to formally answer them anywhere (in class or in the cloud). If these questions are posed regularly, students will have a better chance of at least considering them and in that way think about how they’re learning as well as what they’re learning. Posing questions in this way also helps students develop their self-management skills (GLO6).