Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Philosophy of Teaching

student feedback

A New Twist on End-of-Semester Evaluations

Those who write about teaching persona (the slice of our identities that constitutes the “public teaching self”) encourage us to start by reflecting on the messages we want to send to students. A dialogue with ourselves is a useful beginning, but for the last days of a semester another option might be more intriguing and revealing.

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instructional risk-taking

Six Myths About a Teaching Persona

What myths about constructing a teaching persona merit review? Teachers regularly exchange general advice about how to establish an identity in the classroom. Like most

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Plunging into Learning

I looked down into the menacing waters as a rogue wave jolted the raft. Trembling, I stepped back, my chattering teeth and throbbing heart in perfect sync.

“Let’s go!” It was Miss T, her tone, fierce and impatient.

Again, I crept forward, looking out toward the distant boat wondering how in the world I would ever make the 30-yard swim. Suddenly: hands on my shoulders—a push. I was airborne.

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group of teachers and students

How Do I Make Choices About Who I Am as a Teacher?

Who are you when you teach? When asked this question, most of us immediately respond by describing our teaching approaches. We might say “I’m more of a facilitator now.” Or we might respond with something like “I am a learner-centered teacher” or “I’m more of a lab teacher than lecturer.” But consider this question in another way: What “teaching presence” or persona underlies what you do as a teacher?

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faculty and students on campus steps

From a Discourse of Deficiency to a Discourse of Faith

There is a discourse of deficiency around students—what they can’t do, how “ill prepared” they are—that gets aired at nearly every faculty meeting. We read it in op-eds online. We hear it in state legislatures and in copier rooms. It is the air we breathe, especially if we teach in community colleges. Certain populations of students are considered more deficient than others. These populations are partitioned by institution type and placement level, rather than by race or class. Community college students and students who have landed in developmental classes are considered the most deficient of all. We blame the high schools they came from and, sometimes implicitly, we blame them. They are lazy. They need handholding. They simply don’t have the skills. There is only so much we can do with them.

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male professor

My Educational Philosophy

My educational philosophy is a combination of how I desire to teach and my motivation to be a lifelong learner. As a teacher at the Army Management Staff College, I am constantly learning during classroom and student interaction. Therefore, I am also a student.

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Professor helping student

How to Avoid Being a Helicopter Professor

For years there has been talk about shifting a professor’s role from the “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side.” But as some teachers leave the center stage, they may not move to the side as guides. Instead, they may find themselves hovering above students as helicopter parents hover over their children. While a complete lack of guidance is not a good idea, excessive guiding could turn constructivist scaffolds into new forms of crutches.

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teaching professor

Developing a Teaching Persona

An email query about teaching personas reminded me how much I haven’t figured out about our teaching identities. I’m still struggling with very basic questions and wondered if a conversation here might not get us all thinking more about how we present ourselves as teachers.

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Practical Tips for Cultivating a Learning Relationship with Students

Take a moment right now to ask yourself who your best teachers were growing up. Now list the qualities that made them your best teachers.

Looking at your list, you will probably notice something interesting. When I have faculty do this, they invariably list qualities such as “cared for my learning” or “cared for me as a person.” They do not list qualities such as “the most knowledgeable person in their field.” In other words, they list relationship qualities as the factors that make for a great teacher, not knowledge qualities.

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Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome: Advice for New Faculty

Last week, an imposter took over my classroom. Come to find out, that imposter was me.

I started teaching three years ago. I was fresh out of graduate school, equally thrilled and terrified at the prospect of teaching my own classes. On paper it sounded straightforward: teach others the same material I just finished learning myself. I could do that, I told myself confidently. Then on the first day of class I met The Imposter.

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