When students begin a university unit they embark on a journey to a special world, a world that is not entirely familiar to them. They begin the unit without the full range of words, concepts, knowledge, skills and abilities that they need to successfully navigate through this new terrain. From the teacher’s perspective it is helpful to understand the students in their ordinary world, as they will bring their own experiences, abilities and attitudes to learning to the classroom. Practically speaking, this is the point in the unit where the teacher and the students get to know one another, and which will involve various ‘getting to know you’ activities.
Diagnostic questions for stage i):
- How well do you know the students at this point in their journey? Do you know their names? Do they know each other? If not, have you included icebreaking/getting to know you activities?
- Is there information that students need to bring to this unit (such as prerequisite modules)?
- Have they been informed of this requirement?
- Do you know what the level of knowledge about the subject at hand is with the students (i.e., their learning incomes)? Do you include activities to find out?
- Do you know which examples they will be familiar with? Are you familiar with the same examples? If no, do the students have the opportunity to teach you about them? Do you need to put something in place to make sure they are familiar with your examples?
- If you feel that any of the students is not sufficiently up-to-speed, what can you do about this? How will you get them to a point where they can meaningfully engage with the unit?