Lunch and Learn: Dr Theo Gilbert and Nathan Ghann Part 2


So, but I think my thing is and I’m
thinking about the staff members now that are hearing thinking okay, that sounds logical and it’s something that needs to be done how do I practically do that, right? How can I mark
X amount of students doing these compassionate behaviours? Because I am assuming it’s going to be observational. Really, I would like you to share how easy or hard or what considerations someone needs to have to actually make this a practice within what they do in the classroom. Well, I’ll just show you something, that
that there is criteria for marking this let me just show you, here we go, oh can you
see now? Yeah! Great, okay so here is a website with a number of
resources on including two types of criteria. So here is here is a
website that’s been put together of resources there are lots of films
there’s a 20 minute film demonstrating where students are demonstrating these
films and staff as well have used it and come across it in engineering, in
central academic english, in midwifery and business are talking about their
take on these skills the students have been taught for outcomes of the group
work, quality of critical thinking and interconnections between students to allow
that quality of critical thinking so there are films like that the first one
is 20 minutes and then there are 10 minute films explaining the theory and
the practice behind it there is also criteria, marking criteria which
has been inspected by our own head of quality assurance academic quality
assurance Dr. Frank Haddleton which has been inspected in relation to film
assessed discussions ICRELLA which is a research center
they said University of Bedfordshire it has been approved
sometimes commended by external examiner’s it’s very very
straightforward every word is precise it’s simply inclusive body language so
we’re teaching students that so what would you be looking out for? Well, you
might be looking out for because staff can become really great
anthropologists if not of us too and they start to develop these skills
brilliantly, it’s always been innate it’s always been dormant but can we use
them? Can we use them? Well I would say yes we have to we need to notice we need
to notice when a student who was making a good point was cut off by somebody
else in the middle of that point so we need to notice when another student says
to Jessica for example she was cut off by Ahmed, Jessica what were you saying about
that there was a good point? It’s not silence to Ahmed because the
body language to Ahmed can be friendly and open but just to generally bring Jessica
back on because maybe somebody has realized that she was going to put the
group back on track and then she got cut off and a tutor so we’re asking to
tutors don’t normalise this competitive behaviour, try and see how these things
unfold Dr. Anna Tripp who has used this for assessing group discussions of a
particular model by masters students in English literature for research
methods and each student was required by her to analyse, to help the group analyse
through in particular literary theory for example Eco Theory, Feminism, Marxism,
Post-Colonialism, Post-Structuralism for example so they’re each helping each
other unpack and in the feedback in the feedback under compassion she was saying
things like it’s very interesting how the compassion skills start to merge and have a big mediating effect on the learning for example she says: ‘when the
group stalled James you asked a very pertinent question’
he didn’t take over and give a speech he asked a group a pertinent question to
help them get back on board so these are the kinds of things that
you’re looking at what kind of attention and what is a student
doing to keep the group focused on all four engines working on the task. It may
be to invite students in, it may be to to invite keep holding the door for
the shy student, ‘what do you think Jessica?’ Yes, what were you saying? and
to prompt students as well sometimes when a student fails somebody must take
over quickly jump in opportunistically it’s nobody’s fault
our threat system is pushing us to do this fed by these awful competitive
individualistic cultures that actually depress learning achievement so if
somebody is more compassionate they’re going to allow a
silence for shyer students to come in allow the silence, don’t, as Dr. Yvonne
Turner says, she’s asks students please stop mythologising silences because our
international students, our shyer students can’t get in. One student wrote down in a survey we did “I wrote down what I would like to say and then my chance is
lost, my chance is gone, somebody’s stepped in” and it’ll be somebody like
like the students I talked about before who says I can fill every silence, I can save the group that way even if I haven’t read the text. No, compassion
requires really some really good cognitive thinking about what is good
for the group; how is the group going to achieve? How are we going to support each
other to do this? These are the things that become very obvious to
tutors once they get into this once they start looking at this they start to see
what questions have what sort of interruptions have, hasty interruptions,
have actually diluted in that moment the group critical thinking. Right.
What questions have helped them get back on board? How many times has a door been
open for a shy student who can then come through and smash it? And put everybody
on the new track these are the things we have to notice, not normalising the
taking over, the monopolising, the competitiveness, tutors get very
good at this very very good at this it has such an impact on the outcomes of
task achievement of subject task achievement and all these skills take
one hour to teach, what are we waiting for? Very interesting and I think that was leading me to kind of, one of my final big questions What has been the impact on attainment and attainment disparities, BME attainment gap BAME attainment gap, what’s been the impact and the skills that have been demonstrated in the classroom? I can just show you if
I may, I’d like to show you this, here if you can see, if you can see here
this was a business module of 38 students we could see here that there
were eight local black students there were 17 local ethnic minority
students there were five international students and to find any local white
students now I’m not suggesting that we should, that we’ve got to be careful
making these categories because there’s so much overlap between them that is
hidden, when we start to look at local white students for example
those who are whose parents were of mixed parentage, mixed nationality
parentage who didn’t speak any English at all until a divorce happened
and back they come, no more Spanish go to school; these are international
students so I’m not keen on these categories but for the moment to tackle
the BME gap you get we’ve got to and what do we find with these 38? We find that for
their critical thinking only in the essay let’s have a look at the blue line
that’s an essay, it’s an essay. Yeah. And we find the blue line that the mean
mark for the local black students was 56.25% for critical
thinking we isolate that, not me but two business tutors, both have retired now,
very very experienced found that that was the mean, a statistician of
the Royal Veterinary College says that was the mean for them on critical
thinking it was a little lower for the local ethnic minority students it went
up to 67 for the international students again that overlap,
some international students can speak English as a native language, have
been educated in private schools in America. I can think of one for example
from that group and then here we go the local white students are doing very nicely thank
you they’ve gone up to 70% now that is an attainment gap from 56 to 70
is our attainment gap business as usual what’s going on? Then we ask them to
do a group discussion in which each student has to bring their own research
every week their own article it’s not set reading so you can rely on everybody
else that’s only what happened just outside the seminar room because you
didn’t do the reading they all take ownership, they present and then they
ask others to discuss with them to unpack, to critique the article here we find the
critical thinking only for each individual student again each individual
student has a mark, this has gone up to 66 for the black students local, black
students, 65, 68 and 69 here for the local white students so we send that up to the
Royal Veterinary College to their reader in statistics there Dr. Mateo Krottas, thank you Mateo and he says it’s not that there’s a reduction in the BME gap here, it isn’t evident at all and the reason why is because students, I can
show you here’s one this is what our students were telling us afterwards.
“When I go into seminars I find any other Muslim people there most of the others
I’m probably not going to talk to them to be honest”
This is a Muslim student a young woman feeling safer this is all the threat
system, it’s human, it’s universal “So, I was thinking oh my god what if no one
talks to me?” but that all the students had been trained just an hour or two or so, in compassionate skills, so when she had a soft landing into a group of
strangers “as soon as I got into the group I was fine, I
was fine we just got into the discussion it flowed really well” or here’s another
one another BAME student, “we were sort of analysing” this is what compassion is
about, us about critically analysing what’s going on around you and what is
the best thing to do for all, “we were sort of analysing, I know I was, I was like
watching each other, what’s the body language like?” and he in the exam from
BAME student who is very shy but got a superb a first, superb discussion in capital
letters written under his feedback “I felt not as one person but I felt as a
person with an entity and the entity was my group we were like all
focused on at the task” this is why it was difficult at the end of his exam
sometimes to get students out of the TV studio where they were being filmed they
were so into the discussion of the articles they had brought but what do
but what Mateo told us is that, hang on a minute, this is only 38
this could be a fluke you will have to transfer this to a much bigger cohort of
students and so we took it to a cohort of 228 computer science students and
this was made possible by Dr. Martina Doolan who’s a National Teaching
Fellow who tried on this module here though we’re looking not at
the intervention group we’re looking at the were looking at the control group
the year before. Only 27 students there but this is the way research works
unfortunately and here we can see that the mean for the BME students is way below that of the white students and we can see from Dr. Sylvia Becker it’ll
help to analyse this from the Roslin Institute at University of Edinburgh
she’s also a reader in statistics, post-doctoral reader, she says the BME gap is very
evident here it’s very evident here then we teach students, they were only taught
for one hour these skills that they could use in their group work and they
told us what their experience of the group work was because we asked them to
do a reflection, what do I contribute to other people’s learning and social
experiences in my group work that they most appreciate in me, question 1. Question
2, what do my fellow students in this group work contribute to my, to enhancing
my social and learning skills that I most appreciate in them? This is the kind of
stuff we were getting back on all 228 there was not a single exception we
couldn’t find one on their piece of work for those that we looked at, we
couldn’t find. Let me see for all of those that we looked at.
which is as many as we possibly could “on that piece of work I would listen to how
they achieved this, how valued their input is I also make sure I was showing
gratitude”, student 185. Students 100 “during discussions I always make
sure to leave spaces for other people” Yvonne Turner would be thrilled with you
student 100, don’t mythologise shy students sciences, other students need
those spaces to get in they may not be as confident here’s another one from a
mature student could you read the lower one “I was worried being
the oldest person and the only non-native speaker English person having
ten years of working experience with people from different cultures and
backgrounds I never found it as smooth as this time on this module with the
compassion skills outside of university this is long after the module we’re
still hanging out together” but what’s the what is the effect of this as Matteo
challenged us but he was still going to get the same outcome can you replicate
this in terms of that attainment gap and this is what we found
oh I’m so sorry here it is I’m so sorry here it is what this means
is that there it is not that the attainment gap has been reduced we are
around half and half the BAME and white students in this university about 50/50
the results come back it’s not that the BME gap has been reduced it’s that there
is no statistical evidence of it, no matter what test is run. Right. Wow.
So now we’re thinking okay we need to get this sent to our own
statistical experts here so in the business school the very generous Dr.
Neil Spencer who’s director of statistics and the reader of statistics goes to every test that wonderful Sylvia Becker has done and he
finds there is nothing he says the results are the results there is no
evidence of a BME gap here all the tests have been done correctly accurately
she wasn’t checking on her but it was just as it’s just you know just
see if there any other tests that could be devised she was very very thorough
Dr. Spencer agreed and said there is no evidence of a BME gap here what are we
waiting for? Nathan, what are we waiting for? and the
fact is that some students without much confidence were actually
bringing two articles to the discussion they were so engaged with the
subject. Now what we can do is just say to students do this every week in your
seminars, be serious, you are scholars and by the time you leave the room every
seminar you’ve got four you’ve got four articles under your belt at least enough to
go back because they ain’t got legs are not gonna run away and say okay I’ve
got a hang on, I can go back into that article that Jessica an Ahmed and Nathan brought,
I’m gonna use my essay also speed meets are very helpful of course speed meets
like speed dating, well not speed dating but in the first seminar to get students up
and meeting each other can also break the ice wonderfully because they meet
one-to-one just one to one, it’s less threatening and it’s wonderful to be
able to even record the energy and the talking sometimes you won’t hear any
words because it’s just chatter chatter chatter to say to students look here is
the evidence you guys are talking to one person after another three minutes with
every person you can talk to everybody here’s the evidence you can talk to
anyone you’re approachable, sociable and you’re ready to go your teamwork can be
great. That is what I wanted to ask you, do you feel it was the article that the students had choice over what they could bring in the class or do you think it was primarily the fact that they felt safe in the classroom? Yes, absolutely a student said for example a
black student who got a first for his critical thinking and some of these
students were going from 30 to 70 from 30 in the essay in the business school
to 70 the same markers the same business tutors we’re marking both double marking
both and that’s Dr. Dave Patterson and Dr. Mike Herman really put a lot of effort
into getting really pinning this down and there was a lot of skepticism on the
part of one of them but willingness to try
knock yourself out you won’t change anything but willingness to try so it was
good actually to see these students doing so well and wowing those tutors,
what I would love to see actually is that we’ll be surprised when tutors actually get into the TV studio will ever bring their cameras in to assess and the
last lesson the surprise that the tutors will see in who their students
really are and some of these discussions you know and a black academic who has done
this recently Dr. Judy Willard’s who is very helpful in putting together the race charter from the University of Hertfordshire has said that she
has now assessed and I helped her a little bit that she
assessed 150 master students, business master students again at least half and
a half BAME – white I think we have more BAME on that course actually, in their
written work of course for an essay and instead of another piece of written work she actually assessed them terms of research skills, critical thinking and compassionate
group management skills. The group management skills she found really
mediates what’s going on in the other two categories in a big way such that
she says it is difficult to conceive that the same stick, the same students
who wrote those essays are the very students we saw discussing
their articles their individual articles the way they did so critically so
inclusively in the TV studio. The other thing I notice is that when leave when
the filming was finished students wanted to stay group after group after
groups wanted to stay and thank Judy for example for an assessment
where everybody takes care of each other but they learn so much and many have
said that of course any assessment should be a learning experience is not
just about regurgitating it, it should be a learning experience and these group
learning exams, these group discussion exams, researcher-led seem
to tick the box that students want to be ticked and satisfy the needs
of employers and surprise tutors in terms of how what very critical
switched on children engage with the subject students they have it’s
wonderful to see so again what’s holding us back. Andrew, the student I talked
to about said to me he confessed look you tell us you tell us he was a British
Nigerian student so he was brought up in a house where everybody speaks spoke
Ibo only he didn’t speak English until he went to school though his auntie
tried to help him we see very much like an international student these
categories overlap so much but he was saying I’m very nervous I’m very nervous
so I said to my group I’m sorry we’ve got to practice first
and I said okay but then you all get to know each other’s articles before
the presentation he said yes sorry but I’m just I was just so nervous we did it
but he said the discussion that we had in practice was nothing like discussion he had in the exam because they were getting into it they were asking me
questions we hadn’t planned so I say I thought this was fascinating data so I
said to him Andrew how did you go with that? He said I had to crack my brain, I had
to crack my brain because they were asking things I hadn’t thought about
but I thought okay just let me think just let me think
this is Andrew who got his first first for this and it’s very difficult to
understand why students like this not being given firsts regularly. He said I
cracked my brain, what that also in that also the shows doesn’t it Nathan
that he had to pause and the others were allowing him the space to think okay holy cow, I gotta come up with an answer for something I didn’t, but
they’re not turning on me they’re not trying to trap me
they’re giving me space to think if I get past, they’re gonna prompt
because everybody knew what to do so that is exactly that is exactly the
goal of teaching students ease simple compassion skills and routing it into
the system the ahd system by assessing it it’s of cognitive skills of
collective skill is not an emotion that is exactly what we want students to otherwise you know yes people will be
punished if they don’t right people will lose marks if they cut deep enough if
they than they are impairing the group critical thinking they’ll end up like
Google everybody is is every man for himself
they humble to their own intelligence these experts in the field they’ve been
picked and no doubt paid appropriately so people will be punished now that
makes now that raises another issue Sophia okay so this was obviously a very
strategic mechanistic thing that students are doing well a couple of
answers to that that’s a very poor opinion of students and the other thing
is that we’re finding that students get into the flow when our clusters
descriptors coming up again and again and then in the in the in the interviews
in the focus groups around 34 for example for the studies we’ve seen here that suggests as well that’s the the
students were saying they get you get into the flow it becomes natural you get
into the zone I think you’ve seen one of those already
and this means that sort of critically thinking about what they say and their
impact on the group critical thinking and inclusivity and then they say so
they start to tell us that they’re taking it to interviews they’re taking
it to the jobs that they have the part-time jobs that all these students
have but it’s it’s very big fees to pay back there they’re using it on other
modules where there is no rewards or any attention to it at all
yeah yeah they’re fine in the group work dynamics more difficult there is no
reward for them why are they still using it why is it that when business students
on this study here we’re allowed to go to the IBM Center to be in group
discussions amongst other graduates that perhaps including from other
universities to have a hat they’re given a scenario and we have to thrash it out
between them why would these students I mean coming running back to David and to
me to say we were taken aside we were told whatever you were doing in that
group could you please it was very good could
you please could you please seriously consider applying to IBM so in our
interview data we have students reporting this experience that it was
noticed that they are very interested IVM in the dynamics of group teams of
teamwork just as good but it is just as more and more and more employers are
after all it isn’t often that a new employee to the company is told ok
you’re going to be writing to as his a week now it’s the team work it’s the
product is to process as kids accountable so be oh I don’t want to cut
you off what I do want off is so if we have someone that’s watching and they’re
saying you know what again that my free what do I do
what’s the very thank you that’s a great question first of all they can come in
let me see they can just come into this just click in this join us contact
there’s a they can just fill in their details which university or school or
college are affiliated to and and then it’s possible for me to and we haven’t
directory as well so far we have staff from 53 universities now we’ve started
to set up zoo meetings like this where for example anglia ruskin nursery who
are taking this app can talk to M Binet and nursing he were taking yourself so
there’s a lot of buzz between these two how’s it going what’s happening what
support all backs well I mean one of them and visit the business school there
are webinars as well that start from different universities have given for
example things like this sorry guys oh I can’t find it but for example and
not Burton Smith business says the he but they were so grateful he could have
cried for these students want this he took it to get out my students male and
females educated differently except from the one course he was sent by everything
to teach he taught them the compassion skills and the women said we actually
made decisions with the men sitting around the table they have been quite
worried about their not something in other words if they join this there are
materials and her films as a marking criteria that’s been tested and tried
and inspected and approved but more than that they didn’t have access to to start
from 53 universities and they will find staffing their own disciplines that they
can they can talk to or they can sense to me and say look I’ve I mean stuff I
wanna make stuff on skype Linkous are bigger so I feel Golden Army is coming
together that there was a there was an awakening about how the brain really
works I have to say in my view with tremendous a tremendous help with that
from the compassionate line foundation in the work it does to specifically on
compassion as a Spiker biological motivation to notice distress not not
rise it and in yourself as well and do something about it I think there’s a big
movement now and I would invite anyone who thinks this could work for their
students over there mean their staff rooms
against our it’s not just stealing their homes and outside the university they
would be welcomed with open arms it would be a joy and an honor for them to
join this to join this growing battalion of people thinking in this directory we
don’t have to have we don’t have to be losing students and depression anxiety
suicide like this we don’t have to do this and we don’t have to have a BMI gap
there’s an enormous amount we can do it’s quick it’s simple and students and
staff are ready for the sector’s ready for it now and that’s where that award
came from that’s a good sign we thank for that order for enormous t that award
was firm as it was because the 53 and sometimes it’s just one one member of
teaching staff working alone working alone other times it’s a whole team all
in this together and we’ll help each other alright yeah welcome know kind of
train-the-trainer yes and I would also say to any member
of teaching staff in any discipline wherever you wanna if you think you
can’t do this you can you can do it brilliantly nobody nobody knows your
students your students the way you know them you can do this better than anyone
oh thank you alright

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