The Models of MELT
The models are from one family that relies on engaged teachers to facilitate student engagement
The Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching- or MELT for short- clarify for students the types of thinking they need for school, university and life. If you are a teacher or supervisor of any age-group, the MELT inform you about how to scaffold complex learning and require your professional judgement and adaptation of your own model. The first of the MELT was the Research Skill Development (RSD) framework, developed in 2006, and a variety of models have been adapted by teachers since 2009.
MELT shares 6 facets of thinking. These facets of thinking are frequently described as active verbs and as questions:
MELT facet verbs
Examples from others Drivers and
Embark and clarify what is our purpose? pose research question
what is my aim?
Find and generate what will we use? search strategy
what information do I need?
Evaluate and reflect what do we trust? limitations and biases
what are internal inconsistencies?
discerning Organise and manage how do we arrange? continuous line graph
non-continuous bar graph
time and team management
harmonising Analyse and synthesise what does it mean? statistical trends
creative Communicate and apply how do we relate? title
who is the audience?
The models that comprise the MELT family share seven broad parameters, in keeping with the six facets above and one other factor; the amount of structure and guidance given to students.
The Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching all focus on students' thinking skills and are best used to scaffold this skill development in repeated use so that MELT may become thinking routines. Engaged teachers are vital for this process, for MELT provides broad guidelines, but educators typically change the terminology to make MELT fluid and learning active.
The family of purpose-specific MELT emerged from the RSD framework organically and over time. However, each new context frequently demands changes in terminology and other modifications.
Now, educators- and sometimes students- adapt and create their own MELT. This means that the terminology they use fits the context, and the configuration fits the purpose. For example, the pentagon configuration was made by tutors in Engineering, who designed their version- called Optimising Problem Solving (OPS) for first year Engineering students' problem solving approaches.
The MELT share the same six facets of thinking, shown in the pentagon format but also a consideration of the extent of student autonomy. The idea behind each facet can be represented by the question accompanying it. There is a seventh MELT question, which is primarily for educators:
'How much structure and guidance do students need?' This is represented in MELT with Levels of Autonomy
A good start is to look at various MELT and to determine which one is most appropriate for your context. Proceedings from the recent I-MELT 2017 conference are an excellent source of inspiration. They showcase the already broad application of MELT frameworks across multiple contexts, including
- Work Skill Development (slides, paper, video) for aspiring accountants (slides, paper, video), the minerals industry (slides, paper, video), Work Integrated Learning (slides, paper, video), and employability skills
- MELT adaptations addressing academic literacy (slides, paper, video) research skills in linguistics, and experimental creative writing
- Curriculum mapping and development of marking rubrics for law assessments
- Specifically tailored cultural applications (e.g., in the Pacific and Mexico)
- Engaged Learning and a practice-based approach to business management education
- Critical Thinking Skills in defence, management studies and during clinical handover
- e-Learning in biomedical sciences and plant physiology
- Institution/system-level applications in the UK, the Pacific and Cambodia
- Learning and teaching partnerships and a community of practice
- Optimising Problem Solving in the context of numeracy skills, a Master’s leadership course, mathematics teaching and engineering
- Research Skill Development in pathology and clinical science, social science preparatory courses, MBA courses, the natural sciences, a social science course, and as a means to address equity gaps
- Schooling applications addressing South Sudanese refugees, grade 5-12 music education and teacher education
- Research-based curriculum design
- Evidence-based decision making
- Supervising undergraduate dissertations.
Then consider changes that need to be made to the terminology and to the layout. Capturing the main point of the framework as a new title is particularly challenging, but essential for communication. People particularly find the MELT pentagon in word version a very helpful starting point.
The implementation of your MELT should be kept in mind during its development, and looking at various approaches to use in teaching, learning and assessment is recommended:
- Face-to-face learning
- Assessment tasks and criteria
- Online learning
Discipline-specific stories from academics who have used the MELT in their teaching practice.
The MELToon was developed by a colleague whose PhD concerned the use of cartoons in education. It may give you a different angle on how to MELT.
Research skill development
The Research Skill Development (RSD) framework uses terminology that reflect research processes, and help teachers to scaffold the skills associated with research.
Work Skill Development
Optimising problem solving
The MELT conference