Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching and Learning

office hours alternatives

Office Hours Alternative Resonates with Students

Faculty regularly face the problem of getting the students most in need of help to come to the office for help. Not only do a small number of students take advantage of office hours, typically those who show up are not those who most need to be there. In previous issues we have reported on research that offers some reasons why this happens. When students start getting feedback that they are doing poorly, some begin to doubt their abilities. They conclude that they just don’t have what it takes and so getting help isn’t going to make any difference. Other times, it’s the stress of having to face the professor with their failure. Some students are so lost, they don’t even know what to ask, and their confidence is so shaken, they have trouble processing helpful information when it’s delivered.

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intercultural dialogue

Intercultural Dialogue Partners: Creating Space for Difference and Dialogue

We teach because we hope to inspire and prepare students for the future. We teach to invite transformation and enact lasting change. But how do we prepare students to step out of their comfort zones and have courageous conversations? How do we ask students to sit across the table from someone different from themselves and truly listen?

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syllabus review exercise

Empathetic Syllabi Review Exercise

“Do you know how much this exam is worth?” 

“I can’t find any office hours listed for one of my classes—are there any?.” 

“What if I get sick and miss a few classes—will my grade be hurt?” 

My answer was the same for all three questions—“I don’t know.” Even though these were my first-year seminar students asking these questions, they were looking at syllabi from their other courses, part of a syllabus review exercise I do each fall with first-time students. 

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engaging the learning cycle

Engaging the Entire Learning Cycle to Ignite Enthusiasm and Learning

You can tell it’s exam week when you see countless students standing outside the exam room trying to take advantage of some last minute cramming. We wonder how much of this information they are about to regurgitate has contributed to their knowledge of the subject. Is what we’re “teaching” actually learned? Are we teaching in a way such that students can apply what is learned?

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meta-teaching

The First Day of Class: Using ‘Meta-Teaching’ to Help Students Adjust and Engage

I taught my first class in 1992. At the time, I was young, eager to teach, and woefully unprepared to deal with an 8:00 a.m. general education class at a mid-sized regional university. I naively anticipated walking into the classroom, putting down my stuff, and fielding provocative and interesting questions from students about the topics we were about to cover in our Introduction to Psychology course.

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students texting

Teaching Students about Their Digital Footprints

Our students live in an online world. They’re emotionally and physically attached to their devices and many of their relationships exist within technology. As educators, there are many ways that we have had to adapt to this changing landscape of communication within our teaching, and when I look around my institution, I think we’re doing a remarkable job at keeping up with the rapid pace of change.

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study group in library

Five Ways to Teach Students to Be Learning Centered, Too

Have you ever wondered if your students are as concerned about their learning as you are? If you prioritize student learning, you may be the only person in your classroom with that goal. Learning-centered teachers seek to coauthor classroom experiences with their students, whereas students may seek only to be taught passively. How might you inspire your students to share accountability for their learning? These five considerations can help you teach your students to be learning centered, too.

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Teaching Through Community-Based Projects

In my teaching experience I have come to the conclusion that many college students are unaware of the cultural differences and social issues in their communities. I have also realized that some teachers are often limited in delivering academic content inside the classroom, which might prevent learners from contextualizing the knowledge in real-life situations. Therefore, helping students understand that there is a relevant relationship between their professional skills and their role as citizens within their communities is important. The purpose of including community-based projects in your syllabi is to instill in students a sense of social responsibility and cultural awareness at an early stage in their professional life.

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Supid letter

A Stupid Letter to My Student

Stupid.

This word was spoken triumphantly and repeatedly as self-speak by a talented pre-service, k-12 special education teacher during my course Library Resources for Children. Until I heard her say it several times through the semester, I hadn’t seen how one word can hold an entire teaching philosophy. I hadn’t considered how the power of that word multiplies when it takes the form of self-speak. I hadn’t realized how much it scared me to think that that word might follow her into a k-12 classroom.

When I learned that my own teaching philosophy existed on the pinhead of a single word whenever I’ve thought it at myself, I needed to send to this email to that amazing up-and-coming teacher:

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