This month the focus is on ownership of learning which affects both faculty and students.
So, what are the key components that successful professors use to lead students through the process of owning their learning? One such factor relates to a discovery-oriented approach which guides students through well laid-out investigations to help with solving problems or analyzing data (IMPACT, p.31). The goal should be to involve students in more robust learning that challenges them to” think about their own thinking that they tried to understand ideas for themselves; that they attempt to reason with concepts and information they encountered, …., and to relate material widely to previous experience and learning” (Bain, 2004, p. 10, IMPACT, p. 32). This is the point where ownership of learning intersects with global learning strategy, which requires exposing students over a longer time to engage with and reinforce concepts. Rather than seeing knowledge superficially as disparate pieces of information, students will need to focus on the whole interconnected picture to create new experiences.
(Source: NAFSA Global Learning Lab, 2019 national Conference)
Faculty also hold a key role in ownership, especially when it comes to establishing the right learning environment. Using a globalized perspective, faculty can provide opportunities that encourage student creativity; engage students in deeper mathematical thinking; promote an inclusive culture for collaborative group work; and allow a diverse student body to make conscious connections between their prior knowledge, their coursework, their personal experiences, and the wider world (NAFSA Global Learning Lab, 2019 national conference). Approaches like that prepare students to address real-world global issues of multi-layered complexity.
More than ever, the issue of diversity has become a core factor for meaningful interaction with institutions, colleagues, and students from around the globe. We must “consider diverse languages and cultures as assets to mathematical knowledge and highlight contributions made from such groups” (Holloway, 2004; position paper on global learning). We must respect the academic work of others and learn effective practices from our global colleagues. Every day we are reminded that the pandemic is still with us and that this health crisis is a large-scale global problem that needs to be solved for good. It will take not only good will, but also innovation, global collaborations, and some practice to acquire global and intercultural skills that need to be nurtured in a lifelong process. Global learning needs to become an intentional component of our teaching.
In the coming weeks, we will explore globally-oriented classroom examples, undergraduate research as a vehicle for global learning, and how the pandemic disruption has fueled the expansion of international collaborations and virtual exchanges.