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Teaching Tips


#9 Explore Critical Thinking in Your Teaching

This tip invites you to explore critical thinking in your teaching.

What is critical thinking really? Our last workshop explored this question among others. Here’s a link that expands on this topic with several samples of critical thinking at work in teaching, including sample assignments, syllabi, and rubrics.

This re-printed post from Tomorrow’s Professor investigates pitfalls in critical thinking activities, from students’ assumptions that critical reading is always negative, to their misconceptions that all critical writing is ideologically-biased.

These Chronicle editorials explore critical thinking in various disciplines through examples and discussions from professors: The Importance of Undisciplined Thinking & Critical thinking, visualization, and physical intuition.

#8 Teaching with Technology Tips

The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement would like to share these teaching with technology tips and an invitation to the Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference – Wednesday April 10 from 2-4pm in the Campbell Lounge.

#7 Teaching Tips Inspired by AU Colleagues

This teaching tip newsletter is inspired by AU colleagues. Our first teaching tip comes from Christopher Storm, a professor in the Mathematics Department who recently made a presentation on teaching, including asking students to pick out salient or interesting aspects of a reading to begin class discussion, and reframing frustrations in the learning process by reminding students of how they’ve succeeded in course challenges along the way.

This article similarly explores the balance of challenging and supporting students.

Another teaching tip comes from Matthew Wright, a professor in the Physics Department who also made a presentation on teaching suggestions including assigning students a group project that requires them to create a microlecture (or short educative video). Read more about microlecturing.

#6 Mid-Semester Teaching Tips

  • Is mid-semester malaise impacting you and your students? This blog post explores strategies for keeping your patience and encouraging students to do the same. Consider weekly assignments and review sessions. Read more ideas here.
  • This resource from Tomorrow’s Professor invites professors to maximize teaching planning time by using backward design/planning with the end result of the class in mind, developing rubrics for major assignments, and using rubrics or grading forms in the assignments themselves. More suggestions here.
  • Consider using real world connections, clear expectations, creative assignments, and enthusiasm to ease struggles of students juggling work commitments and school. More here.

#5 Beginning-of-Term Tips

The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful Spring. To start off your Spring semester on a good foot, please enjoy some beginning-of-term tips:

  • For the first days of the semester, a philosophy professor encourages us to try to learn seven names at a time, listen carefully to what students are interested in getting out of the class, and set organizational classroom routines. More early semester tips here.
  • Learning students’ names can be challenging, but often proves worthwhile in connecting students with the curriculum. Ways to accomplish this daunting task quickly include reading your roster several times, using a seating chart, and photocopying IDs to study names and faces at home. Check out more tips for learning students’ names.
  • Finally, this link includes tidbits of inspirational advice from award-winning professors on topics like technology, rapport with students, and respect in the classroom.

#4 End of the Semester Tips

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement wishes you a wonderful holiday season! As the end of the semester nears, please enjoy some tips around winding down, relaxation, and rest for professors.

  • This link lists several activities for students and faculty to revisit course topics meaningfully towards the end of the course.
  • For busy professors, it can take time and practice to really relax on weekends and holidays. Read other professors’ musings and tips about creating and enjoying days of rest here.
  • This link provides encouraging advice to avoid burn-out to restore you over winter break, with suggestions such as limiting time on social media and working towards a balance of daily activities.
  • Comparing leisure activities with learning processes, this article considers parallels between university instruction and gaming, such as providing frequent feedback and justification behind activities.

#3 Teaching in the Aftermath of Sandy

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement hopes you are safe and warm after the storms. This tip invites you to explore instructional technology and learning outside of class as part of your teaching, which perhaps will fit well with missed and/or non-traditional classroom make-up activities.

  1. Consider “flipped classroom” approaches, or using at-home activities that will extend into student- centered classroom learning such as group work. You might record a lecture or send a link to content online for homework, then have students interacting and/or making short presentations during class. The flipped classroom model is less of a “sage on the stage” and more of a “guide on the side” approach. Here‘s a discussion forum with more suggestions on the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  2. Adelphi’s Faculty Center for Professional Excellence offers support on recording powerpoint lectures (just one step beyond creating a powerpoint), or perhaps recording a lecture to YouTube.
  3. If you’d like to include experiential education/extension activities for your students relating to your subject area and outreach for those impacted by the superstorm, check out some local options through AU’s Office of Student Involvement.
  4. From Professor Susan Eichenholz: Based on her work in the aftermath of Katrina and other catastrophic events, Denny Taylor has developed a set of recommendations for teachers and administrators that may be helpful in the wake of Sandy.
  5. Finally, if/when you feel weary: here’s an encouraging article exploring the roles of passion, motivation, resilience, and grit in the life of a professor.

#2 Techniques and Resources for Advisement

As Spring registration approaches, this tip invites you to explore various techniques and resources for advisement.

The link offers some suggestions for good advisement, such as keeping detailed files on advisees and collecting resources on other support services such as financial aid, the writing center, and counseling center.

Here’s a blog discussion of useful advisement resources from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also, check out Adelphi’s own handbook on faculty advisement.

#1 Keeping Students Focused During Class

The Senate Committee for Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful Fall semester! This first tip of 2012-2013 explores the challenges and joys of keeping students focused during class.

  1. This link from professors of English and Business provides suggestions for keeping students engaged during class time and also suggests factors of course material and instructor body language that can hinder engagement. Read more here.
  2. Sid Brown’s (2008) A Buddhist in the Classroom also proposes some interesting tips for getting your students’ attention:
    • “reconcile yourself to getting some attention… face your students, take a deep breath and let it out, work on a smile that is both authentic and welcoming
    • start class on time and thereby communicate to the students that every minute in the classroom is precious, every minute counts
    • discern a particular point or two you’re trying to make – either in your short lecture or during the class period. Then choose particular words/ideas to punch or emphasize and emphasize these points.
    • Make eye contact… with all students
    • Ask students questions frequently to make sure they are following you…
    • Use diagrams, drawings, pictures
    • Avoid talking longer than you need to…
    • Relate what you’re doing in class to what they are actually attending to”

    (p. 17-18).

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For further information, please contact:

Faculty Center for Professional Excellence (FCPE)
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