Helping Students Think About and Engage in their Learning

By post-secondary, students often have a “fixed” idea of who they are as learners. Maryellen Weimer’s article in Faculty Focus, “Prompts to Help Students Reflect on How They Approach Learning” explores ways to “motivate students to consider their beliefs about learning”.  She provides a list of prompts to encourage students to reflect on their current strategies and beliefs.

I found Weimer’s prompts useful and use similar ones when working with students individually; however, many students….well, I just don’t see them. Why? Well, we know that struggling students–the ones who really need to see us– are less likely to seek help.

Do you find it even more challenging to engage male students to ask questions or seek support? Research out of Penn State University and University of Akron by Wimer and Levant (2011) explored the relationship between masculinity and help-seeking behaviour (1). They found that males with strong dominance and self-reliance characteristics were less likely to seek help.

Makes sense, but what can we do?

We created out Academic-Zone modules to provide a safe, risk-free way for students to develop their writing and numeracy skills. The online medium seems like a great fit for those self-reliant males. However, we still need to ENGAGE them in the skill development process.

I attended a conference a couple of weeks ago,  Conference on Peer Educators, Nov. 7-9, 2014 at University of South Carolina, by National Resource Center First-Year Experience and Students in Transition.  Ever since the conference, my mind has been spinning. We recruit male and female undergraduate students to deliver our on-campus skills programming, and we’ve been fortunate to always have a mix.

–but I know we can do more….

Please share your challenges, strategies, and thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.

Margaret Groombridge

Image me

Lead Designer, Academic-Zone and Coordinator Skills Instruction, A-Z Learning Services, Brock University

(1) Wimer, D. J., & Levant, R. F. (2011). The relation of masculinity and help-seeking style with the academic help-seeking behavior of college men. Journal Of Men’s Studies, 19 (3), 256-274.

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