Helping people learn

In this video James Lang introduces the E4J Teaching Guide.

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Hello, everybody. My name is Jim Lang. I am the Director of the Centre for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts and I was one of the editors of the E4J modules on ethics, as well as the author of a teaching guide that accompanies the modules.
So I'm sorry I can't be with you right now, but I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about the teaching guide, about what you'll find there and an overview some of the core principles that I described in that teaching guide.
If you're like me, you came to university lecturing or teaching without having had any formal training in education, and instead sort of learned to teach by thinking about your own experience as a learner, as well as perhaps watching other teachers in action and maybe talking to other faculty about how teaching works and what works for our students.
That was my experience, and I sort of learned to teach by doing, as many of us do in higher education. But over the course of the past decade or two, I've become very interested in the literature on how people learn and I've increasingly realised that that literature can help us design the most effective possible learning experiences for our students.
So I tried to bring that perspective to my work as a module editor, as well as into the teaching guide. And the teaching guide introduces five sort of core principles that are pretty applicable to almost any type of teaching contexts and that might help you think about what you want to do with your students as you're using the modules, and even as you're teaching your classes outside of the module use.
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Learning principles

There are five core learning principles that can be used to guide the creation of any type of learning environment, from a full traditional university course to a single learning session within a larger context:

Subsequent units of the course will address each of these principles in more detail.

The Modules use innovative interactive teaching methods such as experiential learning and group-based work. These methods keep students engaged, help them develop critical thinking skills and ethical decision-making capabilities, and motivate them to become committed to ongoing ethical improvement. This course allows you to reflect on how you can use these innovative teaching methods in your own teaching.

The Modules are freely available on the E4J website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . UNODC offers them as open educational resources (OER) to assist lecturers in preparing and delivering university classes on integrity and ethics. Users may visit the E4J website and download and copy the information, documents and materials for non-commercial use.

This ToT course uses material largely drawn from the E4J Teaching Guide and selected E4J modules to provide an accessible and engaging overview of the E4J materials that will increase your confidence and capacity to adapt the resources for the needs of your own students.

How we learn

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Figure 1 Students studying

The past several decades have seen an explosion of new research on how human beings learn. That research has taught us that human beings are, as anthropologist Susan Blum has written, “born to learn” (Blum, 2016, p. 3).

We begin learning in our infancy and can continue to do so throughout our life span. However, while learning comes naturally to us, teaching does not. Indeed, helping another human being to learn turns out to be a very complex challenge, one that has given rise to a rich field of educational theory.

Most university lecturers spend their own student years mastering their disciplinary knowledge, and do not have the opportunity to study that body of educational research. They usually can draw upon their experience as learners, as well as their early experiences as teachers, to develop effective teaching strategies.

However, opportunities to reflect upon the educational process, even after one has gained experience as a teacher, can still prove helpful in developing new ideas or improving one’s existing practice.

Teaching methods

The Modules in this series, and especially the teaching materials and activities that can be found in each of them, align with some core learning principles from educational theory research. These principles help provide a theoretical grounding for the teaching methods recommended in the Modules.

Just as we want students not only to practice ethical behaviour but also to understand the principles that guide such ethical behaviour, we wanted to make explicit the educational principles that provide a foundation for the activities you plan for your students.

Even, if choosing not to use the recommended teaching activities, you can use the learning principles to create and structure learning activities that might be especially appropriate for a particular context.

The E4J Modules on Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Ethics

Reflection on approaches