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Engaging and Motivating Students

Teaching first-year students requires a unique set of teaching strategies. Creating an engaging learning experience for first-year students is important because the majority of drop-outs occur in the first-year of study (Tinto). Among the main causes of student attrition are: Trouble adjusting to the culture of post-secondary education, confusion over and difficulty meeting academic expectations, social isolation. However “students are more likely to persist when they find themselves in settings that are committed to their success, hold high expectations for their learning, provide needed academic and social support, and frequent feedback about their performance, and actively involve them with other students and faculty in learning” (Tinto).

 (google doc) Best Practices: Teaching First Years (external link) 

When teaching adult learners, there is a shift in the relationship between faculty member and students, and a shift in the way that learners will perceive the effectiveness of different teaching methods (Karge et al.). Some over-arching concepts governing good teaching methods for adult learners: Teachers should facilitate learning, provide autonomy and independence, and empower learners (Jarvis and Rubenson).

 (google doc) Best Practices: Engaging Adult Learners (external link) 

Within the typical Ryerson classroom, there are both traditional learners, usually thought of as students attending university fulltime right after high school, and non-traditional learners, usually defined as older students returning to school after having spent time working or raising a family. These non-traditional learners may also be completing coursework on a part-time basis, while remaining in their jobs.

When traditional and non-traditional students share the same classroom, there are some differences to be aware of, as well as strategies that can help reduce any issues that might arise—being aware of the “potential problems and learning some strategies to address them, we as educators can create a dynamic, inclusive environment” (Bishop-Clark & Lynch).

 (google doc) Best Practices: Teaching in Mixed-Age Classrooms (external link) 

Teaching Graduate Students

Though graduate students are often treated as a completely separate species from undergraduate students, in reality they learn the same way that all students learn: through the successful retention and transfer of knowledge (Cassuto, 2013). Where graduate and undergraduate students can differ is in their age, motivation, and knowledge (Berkeley).

 (google doc) Best Practices: Teaching Graduate Students (external link) 

Supervising Graduate Students

When thinking about what constitute effective graduate supervision, it is important to keep in mind that there is “no gold standard model of graduate supervision which can be applied in all situations, across all disciplines. For supervision to be effective, it must be an evolving process that concentrates on meeting the needs of different students, programmes and administrative structures” (Benaquisto, 2000, as cited in Egan et al., 2009). Factors that influence the success of the student/supervisor relationship include the personalities of the student and their supervisor, their interests, experiences, and prior knowledge, and their conception of supervisory roles and styles (Orellana et al., 2016). It is crucially important for supervisors to understand what has motivated their students to pursue graduate work, and what their expectations are for the process (Guerin et al., 2015).

 (google doc) Best Practices: Supervising Graduate Students (external link) 

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