What will encourage students to respond positively about the subject’s current content?


Extract from Issue#26 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link

Not only does the subject content need to be relevant to the learning outcomes, just as important is that the content is relevant to students.

How To Make Learning Relevant To Your Students (And Why It’s Crucial To Their Success)

By Saga Briggs, editor of informED. *

Source: https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/how-to-make-learning-relevant/

Relevance is defined simply in this article as “the perception that something is interesting and worth knowing.” **

Four methods for establishing relevance (Kember et al., 2008) highlight the importance of including current content:

  1. Discussing how theory can be applied in practice
  2. Making a link to local cases
  3. Relating subject matter to everyday applications
  4. Discussing and finding applications in current newsworthy issues and events.

Making learning engaging and personally relevant (Willis, Faeth, and Immordino-Yang, in Sousa, 2010):

  1. Use suspense and keep it fresh
  2. Make it student-directed
  3. Connect it to their lives and what they already know
  4. Provide utility value
  5. Build relatedness

* informED is an Australian education blog produced by Open Colleges.

** A more complex definition of Relevance from Deirdre Wilson, co-developer of Relevance Theory: The hearer takes the conceptual structure constructed by linguistic decoding; following a path of least effort, he enriches this at the explicit level and complements it at the implicit level, until the resulting interpretation meets his expectations of relevance; at which point, he stops” (Wilson, 2018).

References available from CSU library

Kember, D. (2015). Understanding the nature of motivation and motivating students through teaching and learning in higher education. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au

Kember, D., Ho, A., and Hong, C. (2008). The importance of establishing relevance in motivating student learning. Active Learning in Higher Education, 9(3): 249-263.

Sousa, D. (2010). Mind, brain, & education: Neuroscience implications for the classroom. Bloomington, Ind.: Solution Tree Press.

Sperber, D., and Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Wilson, D. (2018). Relevance Theory and literary interpretation. In T. Cave and D. Wilson (Eds.), Reading beyond the code: Literature and Relevance Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.