The most effective method of teaching a course, in terms of retention and impact, is by having a “good conversation” with the teacher, according to a survey by the Australian Centre for Learning.
The survey found that a teacher’s ability to engage a student in the discussion of the course, and to listen to them, was significantly more important than the content of the discussion.
“What matters to the learner is their ability to make informed decisions,” Professor Stephen Bierman, the centre’s chair, said.
“We’ve all had a time where we’ve been in a very busy environment, or in an office, where the teacher’s not speaking to the student.
And that’s really when they’re going to get the most out of it.”
The survey was commissioned by the College of Educators and Skills and used in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Educational Leadership (AIESL).
Professor Biermen said the results were surprising, given that students would often want to talk about the course when they had no time for it.
“They may not have a lot of time to sit around a desk and think about their own education and their future careers,” he said.
Prof Biermans own teaching experience included teaching courses for 20 years.
“I’ve seen the same things over and over again,” he told news.com.au.
“There are lots of students who are coming in to the classroom every day and they’re not having time to discuss with the person who’s going to teach them the content.”
Professor Biersman said he hoped the survey would help teachers “decide how best to engage the students, rather than just teaching the content”.
“It’s about listening and thinking about the issues in a thoughtful and respectful way,” he added.
Prof Kevin McGowan, the president of the Australian Education Union, welcomed the results.
“ABS has long recognised the importance of engagement and engagement in teaching,” he wrote on Twitter.
“This study shows that it’s not enough just to talk.
It’s about thinking about how to listen, to consider, to engage and make learning more enjoyable.”
The ABC contacted the Australian Bureau of Statistics for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.