A . A F X E N T I O U
INFORM TEACHING AND
COURSE DESIGN WITH
# 1 EFFECTIVE TEACHING INVOLVES
ACQUIRING RELEVANT KNOWLEDGE
• If you think that we just teach the content, we do not
teach students the content then you are not informing
your teaching properly.
• Instead, If you do this will help explain student difficulties
(e.g., identification of common misconceptions), and
guide instructional adaptation.
• ACTION STEP: gather the most relevant information as
early as possible in course planning and continuing to do
so during the semester can (a) inform course design
(e.g., decisions about objectives, pacing, examples,
Why it matters.
1. Cultural and generational backgrounds influence how
they see the world;
2. disciplinary backgrounds lead students to approach
problems in different ways;
3. students’ prior knowledge (both accurate and
inaccurate aspects) shapes new learning
#2 PRIORITIZING THE KNOWLEDGE
AND SKILLS WE CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON
• Controversial: Coverage is the enemy: Don’t try to do
too much in a single course.
• NOT all topics work congruently to student learning, so it
is necessary for us to make decisions – sometimes
difficult ones – about what we will and will not include in
• Determining a set of objectives that can be reasonably
accomplished instead of aiming for all, helps better
inform course design.
• Recognizing the parameters of the course (e.g., class
size, students’ backgrounds and experiences, course
position in the curriculum sequence, number of course
units) aids students learning.
#3 PROGRESSIVELY REFINING OUR
COURSES BASED ON REFLECTION AND
• We need to be certain we continually reflect on our teaching and be
ready to make changes when appropriate (e.g., something is not
working, we want to try something new, the student population has
changed, or there are emerging issues in our fields
• “Teaching requires adapting.”
• Here’s how to refine your courses: Much of this information already
exists (e.g., student work, previous semesters’ course evaluations,
dynamics of class participation), or we may need to seek additional
feedback with help from the university teaching center (e.g.,
interpreting early course evaluations, conducting focus groups,
designing pre- and posttests)
• KEY: Small, purposeful changes driven by feedback and
our priorities are most likely to be manageable and
WHO IS A. AFXENTIOU
• A Afxentiou works with teachers, speakers and coaches
to increase their professional education and expand their
• He is a certified trainer with 15 years of teaching
experience, the author of the The Swiss Knife to
Understanding Science, the co-author of Teaching
Fulfilment and the creator of the Impactful
Professionalism Classroom-Apotherapy Challenge.
• Through his signature programs, like Classroom
Apotherapy and Teaching Prosperity 101, he has helped
thousands of teachers from all over the world to grow
their professional self-efficacy, to attract more loyal
students and outcomes, and to improve their
relationships with students.
• To book Afxentis for a speaking engagement, contact: