Archive | January 2017

Teaching Tricky Topics

Teaching tricky topics developed from our JuxtaLearn research a year or so back, and this January the Open University (OU) Institute of Educational Technology (IET) had a stall at the BETT 2017 show. The first part of the JuxtaLearn process helped teachers to analyse why students didn’t understand a topic, “I don’t get what they don’t get” is the typical teacher remark as students struggle to understand a new concept.As a result of that research, the OU along with Oxford University is putting together a process for teacher development to analyse the stumbling blocks to learning a topic and to assess how well a teacher’s consequent learning intervention works. It has three steps:

  • Identify
  • Capture
  • Assess

all explained in detail at

When we were researching, I used the results as we worked to reflect on my computing students’ problems with object-oriented programming – I was applying what is now the Identify step. As a consequence of that research, I came better to understand what concepts were causing my students to stumble, and anticipating those problems, to provide tutorials that helped them over the blockages.

This teaching tricky topics is a very powerful process for a teacher. It would be great to work through it with a module team designing a new module, a fitting impact of the JuxtaLearn research .