The use of Explicit Teaching Strategies for Academic Staff and Students in Bioscience Foundation Subjects
AbstractMany students from disadvantaged backgrounds enter university with limited educational capital and lack skills in academic literacy. These students require significant academic support and up-skilling if they are to progress in their course. This is the case with many students entering the Biomedical Sciences degree at Victoria University (VU). A factor limiting student progression is that first year bioscience foundation subjects are usually taught by sessional teaching staff with little or no teacher training. In this study, academic staff (permanent and sessional) attended a series of workshops run by staff developers who were trained to teach skills in the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) system and it’s higher education counterpart, AVID for Higher Education (AHE). The aim of this study was to evaluate academic staff perceptions of the impact of using AHE strategies on their teaching capability and on student engagement. Of the 39 staff who responded to the surveys, 100% enjoyed using the AHE strategies and 78% believed that the AHE strategies greatly improved their sense of themselves as being a good teacher. Importantly, 90% reported that students appeared to be more engaged than previously. Whilst the results are promising, it remains to be seen whether the use of AHE strategies will lead to improved and sustained student success and retention.