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Back to Blog – 2014: How student engagement stopped my blog engagement :-)

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Main Blog | Comments Off on Back to Blog – 2014: How student engagement stopped my blog engagement :-)

Teaching Research Methods at York U was not just fulfilling but it got me thinking of my research. Informing students that they needed to keep an open mind while wanting to research areas where they “knew” the outcome was difficult. The light bulb and the ‘ah ha’ moments thrilled me. It thrilled me watch how topics on Aboriginal justice, Human Rights, Multiculturalism, Sexuality and Gender Rights,all based on survey research, secondary research which made students acknowledge that there were many views relating to their ‘truth.’

Time management was an issue for me which left me away from this site. I missed the time I spent with my ‘brain’ and researching ‘my truth’. Reading 60+ drafts, and final papers takes time. But that was one course – the other had over 20 papers which was a major paper. Of course l must remember the other two classes. Overload is never good and it made me speak to several students about their lives. One mother with a year old child came to 8.30 AM classes, the other was had a part-time job which he loved plus instead of taking 5 courses was taking 6 major courses. On top of the course load, this young man was actively involved with civic activities at the university. Then the 20% who I no longer base my evaluation of student participation avoided most classes, assignments but could show up for exams – just hoping the 40% would let them slide through – what I do not know.  I sure would love to communicate with them as to why register for a course and waste over $1000.

As I want to engage with all my students I attended ‘Rethinking Retention’ where I heard Vincent Tinto the Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Syracuse U. We discussed Purpose and how to develop this, about Engagement, Connectedness and Academic Culture. Cam we help students answer this question: “what is a university?”

I will be teaching the same courses but I hope this new learning will help the 20% who may not have the same interest as the 70%. Well the 10% who are high achievers will always visit me in my office without the usual ‘please come with your draft to see me in my office.’

Welcome back Merle

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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