The BoBo doll question and student engagement

There were 7 heads down, earphones in, focussing on computer monitors and keyboards. The marking season is here. It’s part of a cycle of migration where students thinking and words are mobilised from student owned spaces to the hinterland of academia, aka Turnitin. Out of the hard won concentration and quiet came the phrase ‘And the student asked, did he make the BoBo doll himself?’  It’s such moments which make marking a sharing activity, an exchange, discussion about student cognition, understanding, marking criteria and outcomes. During one such interlude it was the BoBo doll question. A colleague shared his surprise when during a session on Albert Bandura’s social learning theory (more here) a student asked ‘Did he make the BoBo doll himself?’ Well, there’s no potential planning for this question. It’s unanticipated and on initial glance it seems unconnected, off-task, disconnected from the lesson focus, and no way relevant to any pre-determined objectives or outcomes. But is it? Continue reading