Often at this point the students baulk at the threshold of learning. They have been given an invitation, but one which requires a serious commitment. This stage in the unit will follow on quickly from the previous stage, and can be initiated by discussing the unit with students. Students are unlikely to explicitly refuse the call, but getting them to ask questions and discuss any concerns may help them to approach the journey with more confidence. Such activities are also useful in helping the teacher get to know the new students, and may help in making judgements about how to approach teaching the new cohort.
Diagnostic questions for stage iii):
- How do you engage and motivate students to take part in the unit? (Motivation requires that students believe that what is being studied in the unit is important, plus the belief that they are likely to successfully pass the unit.)
- Why should students study this unit, other than they need the credits in order to complete the course? In what way is it an important, valuable or worthwhile experience? (NB. While some of the value may be in the form of more long-term extrinsic rewards, it is vital to consider what the inherent values or virtues of studying the unit are.)
- What questions or concerns might students have about beginning this unit? (Can you pre-prepare a list of FAQs based on past experience?)
- Are there different levels of engagement (such as ‘lurkers’ – people who mainly observe – or ‘shirkers’ people who avoid taking responsibilities within a group task)? Is this appropriate? If not, how do you deal with this?