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Theme: Strategies and innovations in teaching and learning

Excitement and anxiety in the first-year experiential classroom

Trevor Tyson and Letchumy Taylor
School of Business, Swinburne University of Technology

HBH 110 'Organisations and Management', a compulsory first-year subject in Swinburne's Bachelor of Business degree, is taught experientially to large classes of 80. The subject presents a unique experience of active and collaborative learning for students who, for the most part, arrive expecting a conventional lecture-tutorial program. While some students use their capacities and self-confidence to grasp and benefit from the unique opportunities available in this innovative program, others are all but immobilised by anxiety. In the latter situation, staff are challenged to act as 'containers of anxiety' so that learning is not blocked. The authors' research into excitement and anxiety as bipolar emotional responses to student disorientation and uncertainty led them to the conclusion that the mere containment of anxiety is a limited strategy. An hypothesis is put forward that the negative energies of anxiety can be transformed by harnessing the positive energies of excitement.

Full Paper in MS Word

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