ff-tp-blog April 9, 2014

Creating Learning Environments that Help Students Stretch and Grow as Learners


The March 12, 2014 post raised issues about those students who really don’t want to work with others in groups … “lone wolves” as they’re called in the literature. Your responses raised a number of issues. I thought it might be worth exploring some of them a bit further.

Many of the comments defended the lone wolves, pointing out that their good academic performance could be compromised by having to work in a group. Did anyone comment about those social learners (whose existence is also well documented in the research) who do well working in groups? We require those students to spend time listening and learning alone, experiences that potentially compromise their academic performance.

ff-icon-default-200x200 September 7, 2011

Using Mind Maps as a Teaching and Learning Tool to Promote Student Engagement


Creating an environment that engages students in the learning journey is not always easy. Sometimes as faculty members we ask ourselves, “Are we taking this learning journey by ourselves?” Several years ago as I began my scholarly exploration of the utility of mind mapping as a teaching and learning tool to foster critical thinking, my colleague and I instituted a mind mapping learning activity which has helped to promote student engagement in the classroom.

ff-icon-default-200x200 November 9, 2010

When Faculty and Student Expectations Collide


“It is a story replicated in many history classrooms during the semester. Students have once again done poorly on an assignment or exam. Their essays are the sites of massive, undifferentiated data dumps. They have paraphrased primary sources instead of analyzing them, ignored argumentation, confused past and present, and failed completely to grasp the ‘otherness’ of a different era.” (p. 1211)

ff-icon-default-200x200 October 26, 2010

Developing Students’ Self-Directed Learning Skills


Self-directed learning skills involve the ability to manage learning tasks without having them directed by others. They are skills necessary for effective lifelong learning and are one of many learning skills students are expected to develop in college. The expectation is that students will become self-directed learners as they mature and gain content knowledge. Here’s a study showing how students can become self-directed with explicit instruction.

ff-icon-default-200x200 May 20, 2010

Inquiry into the College Classroom


Are our students learning? Are they developing? Are we having an impact? These questions are only a small sample of those that faculty ask before, during, and after each course that they teach. Faculty often attempt to answer such questions using the evidence they have—student remarks during class and office hours, student performance on examinations or homework assignments, student comments solicited via teaching evaluations, and their own classroom observations. While these forms of evidence can be useful, such informal assessments also can be misleading, particularly because they are generally not systematic or fully representative.

ff-icon-default-200x200 November 5, 2008

Five Things College Professors Can Learn from K-12 Educators


Unlike their college-level counterparts, those who teach at the K-12 level spend a significant portion of their education studying the “how” of teaching. What they learn can be invaluable to college professors who enter classrooms with vast content knowledge but little (or no) background in teaching and learning. As those who teach these teachers, we’d like to showcase five teaching strategies college professors can learn from those who teach younger students. […]