UK expert to talk about understanding undergraduates

Celia Popovic

Celia PopovicUK expert on learning and teaching, Celia Popovic, an educational developer working in York’s Office of the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning, will be the guest of York’s Faculty of Education in a talk about teaching in higher education, today in the Harry Crowe Room, 109 Atkinson, from 10:30 to noon.

Celia Popovic

Most university teachers have ideas about the typical good or not-so-good student in their classes, but rarely do they share these thoughts with others. By keeping quiet about the preconceptions – or stereotypes – they harbour, teachers put themselves at risk of missing key evidence to help them revise their beliefs, says Popovic.

More importantly, they may fail to notice students in real need of their support and encouragement. Popovic, along with co-author David A. Green, explored UK and US university teachers’ beliefs about their students’ performance and discovered which beliefs are well-founded, which are mistaken, which mask other underlying factors, and what they can do about them.

So is it true, for instance, that British Asian students find medicine more difficult than their white counterparts, or that American students with sports scholarships take their studies less seriously? Is it the case that students who sit at the front of the lecture hall get better grades than those who sit at the back? These questions and more will covered during Popovic’s presentation.

Popovic will discuss the study and how by comparing students’ demographic data and their actual performance with their teachers’ expectations, it exposed a complex picture of multiple factors affecting performance.