Georgia Highlands College

GHC Presents at Teaching and Learning Conference

Joan Ledbetter, First-Year Experience director, and Sarah Hepler, instructional designer, represented Georgia Highlands at the University System of Georgia’s Teaching and Learning Conference recently held in Athens.  They presented a poster presentation demonstrating how awarding badges for student achievement can encourage and inspire students to greater success.  Many studies have proven that positive reinforcement works to motivate students, employees, children and adults.  Showing appreciation is important for self-motivation and peak performance. 

Ledbetter and Hepler discussed the benefits of letting students see classroom actions applied to careers.   Freshman First-Year Experience instructors were asked to distribute specific badges to students when they performed extremely well or attained a noteworthy personal accomplishment.  Additionally, students awarded each other badges for outstanding performances like making a speech or researching a topic for a team report.  All student-to-student badges had a career name attached to them, such as journalist (for clear writing and reports), counselor (for peer mentoring) or analyst (for gathering and interpreting factual and statistical data) so they could see how a particular skill or strength matched a certain profession.

Ledbetter also presented a session on using debates to build critical thinking skills, learn about important social and political issues and exercise civility and tolerance.  The session addressed active, problem-based and collaborative learning.  The debate session also included a short discussion on the importance and methods of creating a safe and engaging classroom environment.



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