College Teaching at its Best


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College Teaching at its Best

  1. 1. College Teaching at its Best: Recognizing Good Practice and Supporting Your Faculty David Langley, Director Center for Teaching and Learning University of Minnesota
  2. 2. Purpose of the Presentation Instructional Level: recognize solid teaching practices in your faculty in relation to the best college teachers in the United States Administrative Level: examine the value of informational and transformational professional development as levers for change in your department
  3. 3. The Power of Instructional Habits
  4. 4. Our preferred way of teaching can become a “rut” or deeply engrained habit that may be difficult to change.
  5. 5. Building New Habits Research on expert teachers provides guidelines that can help all professors develop new teaching habits
  6. 6. Teacher Knowledge The best college teachers know their content deeply; they also optimize the role of examples to strengthen a student’s understanding of difficult concepts
  7. 7. Student Learning Expert teachers view the outcome of student learning as the ability to perform in a setting that matters –being able to solve problems in “real life” settings.
  8. 8. Course Design Expert teachers design their course around a small number of key, significant questions or tasks.
  9. 9. Examples of Key Questions BIOL 2002 Foundations of Biology How does evolution serve as a central unifying concept in biology? ANTH 1005 Introduction to Cultural Diversity How can diversity be understood through the lens of “culture”? PHIL 1005 Scientific Reasoning What tools of scientific reasoning can be used to evaluate the validity of information presented through popular media?
  10. 10. Core Ideas on Expectations for Students Expert teachers have ambitious, high standards for students but also provide instructional support to help students succeed.
  11. 11. Core Ideas on Conducting Class The best college teachers: use a conversational tone of voice are clear and organized as speakers
  12. 12. Conducting Class Expert teachers do not believe one teaching method is superior to others, but all methods must capture students’ attention and engage them.
  13. 13. Examples of Active Student Engagement During Class PERFORMING skills needed to be a successful professional, such as: 1. taping an ankle sprain in an athletic training lab course 2. performing a piano recital in a music education course 3. analyzing soil samples in a plant biology course 4. writing a literary analysis of a text in a world literature course 5. solving an equation in a calculus course
  14. 14. Discussion Break #1 Challenges facing department chairs on teaching (handout)
  15. 15. Teacher/Student Relationships The best college teachers have deep trust in each student’s ability to learn.
  16. 16. The best college teachers are invested in the lives, careers, and development of their students.
  17. 17. What Do Students Value in Their Teachers?  Credibility—the teacher has knowledge and wisdom that will benefit the student significantly  Authenticity—the teacher is trustworthy, open, and honest in helping students learn
  18. 18. Informational and Transformational Professional Development in Your Dept.
  19. 19. Informational Professional Development Goal--improve the pedagogical skills and capabilities of faculty
  20. 20. Transformational Professional Development Goal—long term impact on the beliefs, values, and attitudes of faculty toward their teaching practice
  21. 21. Effective Transformational PD Programs Build on the existing belief systems of faculty Help faculty develop an explicit rationale for practice by uncovering assumptions
  22. 22. The Power of Insight for Facilitating Change Significant changes in neural networks and in behavior occur when we focus attention on “moments of insight” that we have generated.
  23. 23. Discussion Break #2 What is the smallest change you can make in your department that will have a noticeable effect on improving faculty teaching?
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