Improving the teaching and learning experience.
When it comes to improving the teaching and learning experience there are four key areas educators can address to help increase student engagement: physical space set up, personal attributes, active learning strategies, and visuals.

Improving the teaching and learning experience

Teaching isn’t talking and listening isn’t learning. 

When it comes to improving the teaching and learning experience there are four key areas educators can address to help increase student engagement: physical space set up, personal attributes, active learning strategies, and visuals. 

Speaking at the Emergency Nursing Education Symposium, Janet Jenista, Trauma Nursing Core Course coordinator for ANZCEN, said it is important educators avoid death by PowerPoint as this delivery method is often boring, and lacks learner engagement. 

“The learning environment should be vibrant, bright and engaging,” she said. “When you are designing a teaching activity, think about it. What is this going to look like.” 

Highlighting how to create engaging narrative Ms Jenista demonstrated the potential of Kahoot! A game-based learning platform. She said using devices – computers, mobile phones etc – for learning is also engaging your learner. 

In addition to Kahoot!, Ms Jenista also suggested using tools such as online crossword generators, which can be used to teach essential vocabulary, and other quiz-style games, as good method to expose learners to concepts and content. 

Another method to engage learners is the ‘flipped classroom’. This method exposes students to the information they need to learn and then they come to class to use it. 

“To use it to teach with subsequently in a classroom you have to make sure students have actually done the work,” Ms Jenista said. As an example, she highlighted the TNCC which has eight course modules students must log on and finish before they come to class, or they cannot take the course. 

In a university environment, Ms Jenista said if a student failed to do the pre-work the challenge is “what to do with them”. 

“I’d have them sit in the hallway and try and catch up and I promise you they would only do that once.”  

When it comes to teaching, Ms Jenista said it “truly helps solidify your knowledge and ability” but there are some simple tricks to keep in mind to be a good educator. This includes the physical space set up of where you are teaching.  

Traditional classrooms were designed that the person with the knowledge is at the front imparting knowledge to you. 

My Dad used to always say ‘never sit in the back row, knowledge gets filtered out and by the time it hits the back row there’s nothing left’.” 

Teaching isn’t talking, listening isn’t learning. “If you just stand there … there’s no active engagement, there’s no involvement,” Ms Jenista said. “I read something somewhere if somebody tells you something you take up 10% but if you teach it you retain about 90% of it.” 

While learning activities in small groups is a good option, if you are limited in your presentation options, some top tips include get out from behind the podium, make some eye contact, vary your vocal tone, and “actually engage your students”. 

“When you are teaching think about your energy and what you are projecting,” Ms Jenista said, as often you can engage learners just by your sheer enthusiasm.  

Emergency Nursing Education Symposium
Janet Jenista, Trauma Nursing Core Course coordinator for ANZCEN, presented Engage: Improving the teaching and learning experience at the Emergency Nursing Education Symposium on 29 May.

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