USING A TUNING PROTOCOL (TP) AS A MEANS TO IMPROVE COLLEGE STUDENTS’ REFLECTIVE PRACTICE, HIGHER-LEVEL CRITICAL THINKING AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS
City University of New York, York College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:This presentation will discuss the benefits and the application of a “Tuning Protocol” (TP) as a college level collaborative and interactive tool to improve student communication, reflective practice and critical thinking skills.
The Tuning Protocol is a structured format for peers to provide constructive feedback about each other’s work. The TP can be used to provide the millennial student with strategies to become reflective practitioners, effective communicators and critical thinkers. In the area of reflective practice, students will learn to think through and discuss issues and experiences related to assessing the work of their peers. Students will learn to identify strengths in their own work as well as their peers’, and will enhance these positive qualities in future work. Effective communication skills will encompass ways to respectfully express an opinion or clarify information and ways to critique personal work as well as work of a peer. Higher order critical thinking skills that will be developed include analytical thinking skills, questioning skills, and the ability to expand logical thought patterns and synthesize information.
This teaching method appears to be a good strategy to facilitate the learning preferences of millennial students who are characteristically team-oriented and favor group settings and prefer teaching styles that involve the instructor acting as facilitator of learning (Newton, 2000). Research also suggests that college students need to build communicative and reflective skills to manage their daily lives and to explore the meaning and purpose of life’s activities (Mastrodicasa, 2007). Using the TP, students are taught collaboratively and professionally in a supportive and non threatening learning community. As reflective practitioners, students understand how group work can be used to develop students' understanding and critical thinking skills. Critical thinking practices include providing feedback, collaborating with peers, finding solutions and creating community. The TP helps participants to view and value diverse opinions and perspectives, and to examine a problem from many different points of view. It encourages and requires critical thinking analysis and evaluation, using justification and persuasion skills, all accomplished in a collaborative and non confrontational environment (McDonald, Mohr, Dichter, McDonald, 2003).
The impact of the TP can be measured and evaluated through both qualitative and quantitative methods including observations, surveys, student feedback, and written reflective essays. Examples of ways the TP can be used in child and adolescent development, health and physical education, environmental biology and professional education college level classrooms will be discussed. Sample formats that can be used across the curriculum in these and other undergraduate settings will be disseminated.