Eating lobster with the Queen!

My word cloud emphasizes student learning and engagement (as it should, probably!), but also references my favourite vacation spot (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) and my most recent pleasure reading (Mrs. Queen takes the train). Although perhaps a disparate set of ideas, they all do evoke reflections on common themes: the roles we have, our obligations toward others, and what we need to feel engaged. Old Orchard Beach is a happy place for me, tied up in childhood memories (and eating lobster), but also a place to connect with family who are far away. In Mrs. Queen takes the train, a Queen Elizabeth who feels bogged down by her role wanders away from Buckingham Palace to go visit a place that carried happy memories for her. All of her attendants who realized she’d gone missing set out to locate her without alerting the authorities or the press. Learning environments allow learners to feel engaged by being relevant and creating opportunities for meaningful learning. In the last year, I have come to a greater appreciation of the diversity of learners, their backgrounds, their motivations, their capabilities, and their willingness to make the effort to engage. I have gone from thinking that my role in the course should be to offer each student what they need to thinking that each student will take what they need from the course. It has changed the way I develop and teach courses. I think about the same lesson in terms of levels of engagement, rather than levels of material.

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