23 Jan 2017

Tips for Teacher and Student Success

Tips for Teacher and Student Success

By Gill Rowell, Education Manager at Turnitin

What’s good for teachers is good for students, too. And teachers know better than anyone what they need to be successful, namely more time to focus on enriching lessons and providing valuable feedback and systems and tools to prevent getting bogged down by minutiae.

I recently wrote an article for Teach Secondary to share a few tips I’ve gathered by and for educators about how to grapple with some of today’s education challenges, which I’ve recapped below.


Tip #1: Embrace the Big Picture

While it’s important for students to be able to meet course requirements and pass their GCSE, AS, and A-level exams, it’s arguably more important for them to want to learn and know how to share their knowledge. In “The Future of Jobs,” [LINK TO: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs] a report published by the World Economic Forum, the top three skills predicted to be most valuable in 2020 are: complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

Education reformers and university and school leaders continue to debate how best to prepare students for an uncertain future, but they tend to agree that teaching students how to learn, as well as nurturing their desire to learn, is essential.

Tip #2: Personalise Learning to Advance Critical Thinking

There are many methods to help students broaden their skills and deepen subject knowledge, as well as develop the thinking skills that form the foundation of academic inquiry and analysis. Project-based learning that connects syllabus lessons to personal student interests is growing in popularity as a way to motivate students to delve deeper into concepts and learn skills that are essential for post-secondary success, such as being able to research, evaluate, and communicate information effectively.

Many sixth-form schools, for example, now offer the EPQ, or Extended Project Qualification, as one way to broaden, deepen, and personalise learning and provide students with a meaningful qualification for acceptance into top universities.

Tip #3: Help Students Take Ownership of Their Success

For students to become independent learners (what should be the end goal of our educational institutions), they need to learn specific skills, such as how to research, write, solve problems, and manage time and long-term projects. They also need to be taught the value of hard work and academic integrity.

Whatever lesson is being taught, it’s important to remember that students learn in the context of relationships. So, improving the dialogue between a student and a teacher can determine whether a student merely checks off requirements or gains real knowledge and insight that can open doors to further and higher education.

In a student survey [LINKED IN: http://go.turnitin.com/l/45292/2017-01-18/9191kg] conducted by Turnitin, researchers found that 70 percent of students find written or typed feedback very or extremely effective. Also, students report wanting constructive feedback on their work and suggestions for improvement, not just praise. The big takeaway from the survey is that teacher feedback matters. It’s one of the best ways to engage students, if it’s positive and authentic. Instead of saying ‘Good job,’ teachers can acknowledge the effort and ask thought-provoking questions that stretch their students’ imaginations.

Tip #4: Measure Progress but Focus on People

Educators need to have an idea of a student’s initial starting place in order to measure progress and help them reach their unique potential. Standardising assessment criteria across a school can simplify collaboration among educators, make it easier to track progress over time, and ensure that marking is applied in a fair and consistent way.

While measurement tools can help provide important insight into the effectiveness of educational programs and teaching methods, it’s important to keep in mind that tools should exist to support teachers so they can better connect with students and engage them in meaningful dialogue and learning opportunities.

Talk to the Turnitin team for more tips for teaching and student success at Stand B113 at BETT Show 2017 - book a time slot for your demo today.

Delve deeper

Instructor Feedback Writ Large: Student Perceptions on Effective Feedback” – A white paper from Turnitin, a cloud-based service that facilitates feedback and assessments

Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning – An Edutopia collection of information, strategies, and tools “to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.”

Education Briefs – A series of briefs published by Cambridge International Examinations to explore a variety of themes in education.

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