An innovative way to encourage students at the City of Bath College to challenge themselves has been nominated for a national award.
Students across the College are now critically assessing their own thought processes by analysing what they already know and what they still need to learn.
It’s called QUEST, which is an acronym for Questioning, Understanding and Engaging Students’ Thinking.
The new programme sees students matching an active verb with a key question to test the extent of their knowledge.
QUEST has been selected as a finalist in the best teaching and learning initiative category of The Times Education Supplement Further Education Awards.
Learning Development Manager Matt Finch and Learning Development Coach Gwyn Chamberlain took two years to design QUEST and it is now used by more than 40 teachers across a range of departments from Fashion to Sport.
Gwyn said: “It’s a unique way of stretching and challenging students to think. They create their own questions to justify and evaluate what they have learnt.
“It’s all about clarifying the thought processes of students and making them verablise what is in their heads.
“We find students who have used QUEST are much more active with their learning, they are more creative and are discussing their work with friends. This type of peer teaching is proving to be very effective.”
The College’s learning development team started to research new teaching methods after classroom observations highlighted the need to develop student questioning.
They were inspired by student-led learning in New Zealand and launched a QUEST pilot study on sport students in 2011.
QUEST uses four hierarchical pathways that students can follow either independently or as a group. It can be used in any vocational context and at any level.
QUEST has received positive feedback with students saying QUEST has gone on to help them in job and university interviews.
Instead of panicking at difficult questions, students say they now have the confidence to construct in-depth answers.
QUEST is currently being taught to visiting teachers from Shanghai Jiguang Polytechnic College in China and both Bath Spa University and the University of Sunderland have expressed an interest in finding out more.
The learning development team has also recently given QUEST presentations to the Bath Education Trust and the Education and Training Foundation in London.
Gwyn said: “We found that teachers were looking more at the learning rather than what the students were achieving.
“QUEST allows students to stop and think for themselves about the learning that has taken place and what they’ve got out of it.
“The work we’ve developed has really had a positive impact across the College, QUEST is now becoming an automatic thought-process for teachers and students.”
Gwyn and Matt will be attending the awards ceremony with Principal Matt Atkinson, Director of Teaching & Learning Judy Lye-Forster and Chair of Governors Carole Stott. It’s on February 27 at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
For further information on QUEST visit the website at questbathcollege.co.uk or call City of Bath College’s learning development team on 01225 328615.