The number one rule of effective pedagogy (in my humble opinion) is learning your students: knowing what they are focused on; what interests them; and how those interests can be linked to curriculum planning. In 1984, Astin had an idea for gathering information on student focus:
“Perhaps the first task in working with such students is to understand the principal objects on which their energies are focused. It might be helpful, for example, to ask the student to keep a detailed diary, showing the time spent in various activities such as studying, sleeping, socializing, daydreaming, working, and commuting” (pp. 526-527).
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of software program that young people recorded in intimate detail their studying, sleeping, socializing, daydreaming, working, and commuting?
Oh wait…there is! And I used it to understand what school leavers were focused on throughout their first year of university.
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