Teaching on a presessional course involves helping students to develop critical thinking skills through inquiry, and asking and responding to questions is a need. On my course there are 18 students, who are predominately Chinese. Part of the final assessment involves giving an individual 'Crit' - a crique to present their work - and part of the assessment criteria of this is how the student responds to questions. Practice so far, in group presentations, has resulted in very little or no interaction from the audience for feedback at the end and the provision of feedback criteria and instruction to take notes resulted in minimal engagement.
I wanted to know how much this was to do with confidence. Asking questions and being an active learner represents a significant paradigm shift from the traditional Chinese model.
On Friday, students gave their second group presentation for which they had been preparing for two weeks. I decided to try using a backchannel, for students to comment and ask questions in a 'live' chat situation that we could address in feedback after each group presentation.
I was amazed to see the number of notifications coming in on my phone and by the end, there were 107 posts for the four presentations!
Ok, a lot the comments lacked in depth of inquiry but it certainly increased engagement. I used Padlet and I think the fact that their posts were anonymous might have helped confidence levels too. I think seeing the stream of posts may also have been a motivating factor to join in. The posts included advice for improvement in terms of delivery, body language and pronunciation and confidence boosting comments in terms of support.
All in all, a definite improvement in active engagement and food for thought...