While they were learning, what was I doing?

Language and Academic Skills (LAS) Units offer a range of programs and classes to support student learning. These can include individual consultations, adjunct classes and specific assignment preparation seminars. Alongside these focused offerings, there is often a conversation and discussion class. In times of stretched resources, is there still a place for this provision? What teaching and learning environments could be created around conversation and discussion classes that would complement and enhance the learning offered in other LAS programs? To address these questions, this paper uses reflective practice to identify the rationale for the development of such a conversation and discussion class. The reflection traces the work of an LAS adviser in this environment and examines the methodology that informs the teaching. It explores an environment in which students participate in conversations and discussions which promote critical thinking, relationships in learning (Brockfield & McGill, 1998) and pleasure in the classroom (Prendergast & McWilliam, 1999). While this paper makes claims about one particular teaching and learning setting, it also suggests that conversation and discussion classes which develop what is taught in other LAS programs are also worthwhile, particularly when they model attitudes and dispositions appropriate to higher education learning.

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Wilson, Anne
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Title of Journal, Edited book or Conference and Page numbers: 
Critiquing and reflecting: LAS profession and Practice. Non-refereed Proceedings from the National Biennial Conference, ANU, Canberra
Milnes, Stephen
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