The students have already worked on a collaborative project on the Roman forum.We asked them to produce a LAMS activity that reflected an outcome, selected by them, of one point on the topic they covered.
Their response was varied, however it was amazing that for so many this was an extremely difficult task. They tended to go far too broad and wanted to answer the most difficult question they could think of rather than actually considering the implication of responding to the outcome.
As for the outcome itself, despite being given the opportunity to choose they immediately looked for the ones that were the complex, despite the fact that this may not have been appropriate to their specific topic. Perhaps they have been too ‘well-trained’ to believe that the task that requires the greatest effort is always the best.
While students have been encouraged to be sophisticated in their responses in the past, what dawned on me was that they are forgetting that at the end of the day the point is to respond in a relevant way, ie that fulfills the outcome.
When I look at this in terms of syllabus outcomes I think this is a valuable lesson to both myself and the students. They are told daily to look at their syllabus outcomes – learning to understand them is what is critical. It was fascinating to see the ‘ah ha’ moment in one student, the understanding that he didn’t have to answer everything about Pompey’s Theatre but just a specific outcome-based point. Hopefully this will assist them in becoming more ‘smart’ in their studies and reduce their stress.
In future I will be even more focussed in explaining to students that responding in a relevant manner to the outcomes is the essential component, and in the development of their, and my, LAMs and other activities it is important to ask relevant questions to elicit the most appropriate response.