Encourage students to find their problem, not narrow their topic: Opinion


University of British Columbia Professor Christopher Rea and Stanford University Professor Thomas S Mullaney have penned an editorial about a better strategy for helping students move their work forward by examining the problem behind their projects. Instructors commonly tell students to “narrow their topic down” when students are struggling to advance their work. However, this advice merely gets students lost in a narrower field. Instead, the authors advise instructors to create a climate for exploration and help students understand how their topic fits into the larger problem that has drawn their curiosity. When instructors non-judgementally help students understand why they want to study their topic, there are several benefits for the students’ learning journey: They connect their topic to a bigger picture, look beyond predictable sources, and remember to remain problem-focused in later projects. Inside Higher Ed Note: Archived stories may contain dead links or be missing source links.

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