Effective Teaching Strategies
As any experienced teacher knows, “one size fits all” does not apply to instructional programs. Faculty Focus is a resource for developing effective teaching strategies, instruction and curricula.
In my course, the required reading is intensive and extensive. Students must read multiple texts that range across disciplines, genres, history, and culture. The goal of this interdisciplinary course is improvement of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. My students, like many others, live complicated lives. Add to that the fact that many are not particularly good readers or people who like to read, and the result is students arriving in class not having done the reading. When that happens, the teacher becomes the best student in the room. She talks about the text while students dutifully listen—or appear to listen.
March 24 - Daydreaming or Deep in Thought? Using Formative Assessment to Evaluate Student Participation
Many instructors will argue that student participation in class is important. But what’s the difference between participation and engagement? What does good participation or engagement look like? How can you recognize it? And how can you tell if a student is not engaged?
March 13 - Energize Your Classroom with Humor
Numerous studies on humor in the classroom acknowledge the important role it plays in the learning process. Humor has been reported to increase motivation, enhance the retention of new information, advance problem-solving skills, encourage creativity and critical thinking, facilitate a positive learning environment, and decrease exam anxiety (Martin, 2007). Given its importance, I’d like to suggest several ways to energize your college classroom with humor.
Do you ever wonder whether your students care about your course material? Do you question whether your students appreciate how the information you address in class is relevant to them? Do you feel like there is often a mismatch between your intentions for your class and what your students actually want to learn?
February 21 - Guiding Students to Think Critically Using Case Studies
One of the best practices in teaching and learning is the use of a three-part case study, or a scenario-based story, to help students deepen their understanding of a concept. The three parts of a case study are a scenario-based story that focuses on a specific, hypothetical problem, supporting literature that aligns with the main themes of the story, and guiding questions that help the learner gain the most from understanding the concepts and objectives of the case study by applying critical and higher order thinking skills.
During the opening keynote at the 2011 Teaching Professor Conference, Elizabeth F. Barkley, a professor at Foothill College and author of Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (Jossey-Bass, 2010) presented on a topic titled “Terms of Engagement: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in Today’s College Classroom.”
February 10 - Using Guerrilla Tactics to Improve Teaching
Most of us are aware of the important benefits that cooperative learning offers for student achievement (Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 2007). We frequently use, or seek out these strategies to further engage our students in the content and enhance the learning environment. However, when it comes to our growth as teachers, we typically don’t employ
January 27 - Humor as a Strategy in Writing Across the Curriculum
We all understand that writing is important and our students should do it well. Even so, many professors feel uncertain when teaching it, especially when their subject area is something far removed from “Composition 101.” Even instructors who work on writing skills find it challenging to maintain momentum when their own academic content inevitably requires attention. Moreover, students, many of whom are easily stressed, worry that their grades will suffer when an “outsider” teaches writing. Some colleges have found it hard to sustain Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs just because of this. But it isn’t a lost cause. Writing need not be so frightening and teaching it can be fun…for both students and instructors. And the writing lessons themselves don’t have to detract from any other academic content. Really!
The panel discussion is a valuable, time-tested teaching technique used in classrooms of all types to help students understand the experiences of a particular group of people. But it’s not effective in every situation.
January 16 - Tips for Teaching Unprepared Students
Not all students are prepared for a class. Reasons for lack of preparation range from failure to engage with the assigned material to failure to complete or sufficiently understand a prerequisite class to lack of adequate preparation before entering school.