Understanding Your Students

Intellectual Development of Learners

Our students are on a journey that takes them through various stages of thinking. If we are aware of and can anticipate those stages, we are better able to respond effectively and assist students in becoming critical thinkers. The Perry Scheme is a tool that many instructors find useful for diagnosing where students are on their intellectual journey. 

Learn more about: The Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development

VIU Student Demographics

Of the approximately 18,000 students enrolled at VIU, less than 20% are in the traditional age group (18-21) for university students.This has important implications for the way we structure learning, and for the way we interact with our students. Older students are more likely to know why they are seeking an education, and therefore may demand to see the practical, applied value in what they are learning. 

Learn more about: VIU student demographics

What Do Students Look for in a Teacher?

In 2007 the University of Manitoba conducted an extensive study, using focus groups, of what students valued most in their educational experience. The results might surprise you...

Learn more about: The Manitoba Study

What Most Benefits Student Learning?

In the last century Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson conducted a huge study on how people learn, and subsequent research has done little more than echo their findings: Students benefit most from experiences that bring them into close relationship with mentors and co-learners.

Learn more about: Chickering and Gamson's Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

What's Happening in Your Students' Brains?

Knowing a bit about how your students' brains work can help you make more effective decisions about which instructional strategies to use, and when. Beware: knowledge of brain function may seem counterintuitive for many university instructors. Our curricula and classrooms are often designed and structured to frustrate and bore the human brain, and therefy ensure shallow, rote learning in our students. On the other hand, armed with a bit of brain science, you can quickly make your classroom a place of deep, impactful learning where students are excited to learn.

Learn more about: How to Teach For (Not Against) the Brain

Practical Approaches Faculty can take for Engaging and Retaining Diverse Students

The following is adapted and summarized from Quaye, S.J. and Harper, S.R. (2015) Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Approaches for Diverse Populations. Routledge, New York and London

This book has ideas for Institutions and faculty about ways to retain students and create conditions for their success.  In this summary document we focus on the ideas and strategies found in the book that faculty might implement to help create a climate of inclusion and to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to persist and succeed in their chosen areas of study.

Learn more about: Practical Approaches Faculty can take for Engaging and Retaining Diverse Students