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Achieving Harmony: Tuning into Practice
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Thursday, June 18 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
CON06.12 - Sources of inspiration: Tuning into specialized student needs for new approaches to teaching and learning

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Many of the “high notes” in higher education lie in transformative learning (Mezirow, 1997) and threshold knowledge (Meyer & Land, 2005). Students often view their instructors as the conductor leading them through these transformative moments to changes in perception. Yet, there are times when this dynamic is reversed – when the students lead the way towards new teaching approaches. These are rich opportunities that we, as instructors, can miss if we are not “tuned in” to the potential insights revealed when students struggle with course content. This workshop highlights examples from four different subjects within two disciplinary contexts (English and Biological Sciences) in which the broader pedagogical approach to a subject was modified as a result of “tuning in” to the learning challenges students encountered. In English, strategies were developed for students who were facing language proficiency issues. In molecular biology, human anatomy and physiology, accommodations were developed for a visually impaired student. The common chord among the disciplines was that the accommodation for these individuals resulted in the development of better pedagogical models for the broader classroom population. In addition to seeing various discipline-specific examples, this hour-long interactive session will require participants to engage in the learning activity developed for the visually impaired student. Participants will also have the opportunity to share their own experiences with meeting specialized needs, and work with the presenters to see how those attempts may (or may not) lead towards a new pedagogical model. 


Meyer, J. H. F., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49 (3), 373 – 388. doi:10.1007/s10734-004-6779-5 

Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, (74), 5–12. doi:10.1002/ace.7401

avatar for Richelle Monaghan (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Richelle Monaghan (Wilfrid Laurier University)

Assistant Professor, Head of Science Programming in Public Health, Wilfrid Laurier University

Thursday June 18, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm PDT
Cypress 1 Room

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