OCDSBXL & Carleton University: The importance of student engagement

Before distance learning & physical distancing measures were enacted due to COVID-19, Sociology of Education students at Carleton University listened to a guest lecture from fellow senior undergrad student Rachel Anderson-Houldsworth about how impactful student engagement is on motivation and successful outcomes in the classroom. Drawing from work in Innovation and Adolescent Learning, Rachel spoke about making important connections between classroom environments, student assessments, and student led projects posted on the OCDSBXL website. 

 As part of her undergraduate course work Rachel enrolled in, Teaching Sociology taught in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. This course addresses teaching techniques in higher education, the theory and research underlying them, and the sociology of the university context. 

Rachel learned many practical tips and approaches to teaching that will assist her in her teaching career. Rachel’s course has helped her: teach in an effective and engaging way so students are interested in course material; assist with obtaining strong teaching evaluations and; to manage her time to minimize being overloaded as a junior teacher/faculty member. A key aspect of this course is being well prepared to start teaching before you begin your first full-time teaching job.

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In addition to the practical tips, the course also prepares future teacher candidates to gain teaching experience including the ability to: demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of principles of learning, principles of teaching, and their application; develop an appreciation for the diversity of learning and teaching styles and show the ability to design curricula and learning activities that accommodate a range of such styles. (A key theme of the course is that excellent university teaching moves beyond simply lecturing in order to incorporate a variety of other instructional methods); design a course syllabus and curriculum that takes into account research on teaching and learning and be able to justify pedagogical choices; create a teaching dossier that reflects professional development as teachers; articulate a teaching philosophy, including an understanding of key aspects of the professional responsibilities of the university teacher as well as ethical issues related to university teaching and; experience giving a guest lecture using a variety of tools and techniques learned in the course, after having had the opportunity to practice and refine it with feedback.

This valuable experiential teaching experience gives students like Rachel an opportunity to build their teaching dossiers and work on course outlines, online course material, and lesson plans when applying to Faculties of Education. You may see Rachel in an OCDSB classroom in the near future.

Good luck Rachel!

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