Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching and Learning

Understanding What You See Happening in Class

While conducting a class, even though teachers may be doing all or most of the talking, students communicate important nonverbal messages. They communicate these messages through facial expressions, body postures, and how they say what they say, as well as what actions they do or the skills they attempt to perform. Both novice and expert teachers see the same student responses, but expert teachers see in those responses something very different than novices see.

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Encouraging Faculty Involvement in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Despite the admirable goal of improving student learning by assessment, many faculty members are uneasy about participating in assessment-related activities. One way to overcome negative feelings about assessment while promoting improved student learning is to encourage faculty to engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).

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Values Surveys: Linking Course Content and Students’ Lives

Last week, while teaching Dante’s Inferno, I moderated a lively two-day class discussion about medieval and modern values and religion. How did Dante define virtue? How do we define it? For Dante, why was lust not as terrible a sin as theft of property? Why did his age consider gluttony a moral failing rather than a self-destructive behavior that one can take to Jenny Craig?

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Good Writing Skills Matter in Every Course, Not Just English Composition

At the end of English composition, I ask students how what they’ve just learned in my class might be useful in their other classes. They’re often bemused and surprised to learn that professors in other courses care about their writing. To encourage them to take responsibility for succeeding in their future writing assignments, I hand out a list of 20 questions that they might ask to better understand “what the professor wants,” and thus continue to apply what we’ve been practicing.

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Mentoring Undergraduates in Research and Scholarship

Interested in a good example of how teaching, student scholarship, and service can be integrated into a single activity? Cecilia Shore [reference below] suggests that mentorship of undergraduates doing scholarship (be it research in labs or bibliographic searches) may just be that example.

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