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.
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.
December 19 - A Quiz Design that Motivates Students
Many faculty members use quizzes to keep students prepared and present in class. The approach often tends to be punitive, however, motivating students by extrinsic means. Karen Braun and Drew Sellers, who teach beginning accounting courses, wanted to use quizzes in the usual ways—to get students coming to class having done the reading, to arrive in class on time, and to participate in class discussion, but they wanted their quizzes to be more about intrinsic motivation and less about assessment. How did they achieve that objective? They incorporated a number of “motivational” design features into their use of quizzes.
Metacognition is about being able to successfully plan, monitor, and evaluate your learning. It’s not a skill that can be listed as a strength by most of our students. Few have encountered themselves as learners. They don’t have an expansive repertoire of study strategies. They don’t often think about alternatives when the studying isn’t going all that well. And most don’t evaluate how well they learned beyond the grade they receive. It’s something else that concerned teachers need to worry about while teaching students.
It is difficult to teach if students are unprepared to learn. In a 2013 Faculty Focus reader survey, faculty were asked to rank their biggest day-to-day challenges. “Students who are not prepared for the rigors of college” and “Students who come to class unprepared” finished in a statistical dead heat as the #1 challenge; roughly 30% of the respondees rated both challenges as “very problematic.”