Thinking about our students’ learning

Below are three interview quotations from students who are talking about how aspects of their histories affect their learning. Pick the quote which seems most relevant or interesting for you and make some notes about how you might adapt your teaching and assessment practices if you had students making comments like that.

‘I think part of the difficulty with getting into this new way of learning is the fact that we’ve all been high achievers. We’ve come from A Levels and we’ve probably never got anything less than 70% in anything we’ve ever done and all of a sudden … We’re all high achievers, you know, otherwise we wouldn’t be here, but all of a sudden we’ve gotten into this environment where getting half marks is going to be impressive.’ [Veterinary Medicine student: from Hughes et al., 2013]

What I’ve learnt since school has been through being involved in campaigns, especially the one to keep the Accident and Emergency Department open at our local hospital. The important thing I learnt was that you do not have to put up with things because if what you want is right you can change things. That’s something they never teach you at school. [Community Education student: from Tett, 2000]

‘OK, I’m from Durban, in a little township … and I’m from a very huge family, of which I’m not necessarily part of it, it’s my granny’s family and I have only one sister and then a whole lot of brothers of whom I’m taking care of them now because nobody, there’s no older person at home at the moment, and I struggled in my studies during my primary and my high school up until the point when I was doing Grade 12, when I fortunately got a bursary [scholarship].’ [Chemical Engineering student: from Marshall and Case, 2010]