A Moment, Unplugged:  Facilitating Contemplative Practice in the Classroom

We all agree it is imperative that we teach our students content knowledge and ways of thinking within our respective disciplines. Additionally, we can also teach our students many important ancillary concepts to help them be successful both in academics and in life. One vital area in which students need assistance in this media-filled landscape is how to focus attention. In this Scholarly Teacher Blog Cheryl Hoy, Amanda McGuire Rzicznek, Elizabeth Zemanski, and Cheryl Lachowski (Bowling Green State University) share what they have learned about facilitating contemplative practice. There is so much in life to distract students (much by design), it seems valuable at this time to teach them how to focus their attention. Continue Reading

Become a Teaching Rockstar: Simple Techniques to Motivate and Engage Students

At most universities, teaching required courses that are not discipline specific can be challenging, especially when the required courses are demanding. Students more often than not have heard the horror stories of how difficult certain classes can be and they start the semester with a sense of dread and apprehension that can severely undermine the chance for student engagement and critical thinking. In this blog, Gladys Childs (Texas Wesleyan University) provides several strategies to overcome barriers in the classroom to increase student engagement and motivation. Continue Reading

Backward Design as a Way Forward

Starting a process by thinking about the goal desired seems common in life, yet relatively uncommon in education. In this blog Todd Zakrajsek (UNC – Chapel Hill) briefly describes the process of Backward Design. The goal is to think, and teach, consistently with the “end in mind.” Continue Reading

Flipping Very Large Classrooms: Embracing the Controlled Chaos

Flipping a classroom requires thoughtful planning and organization to set up the course work for success. Information must be pre-loaded and accessible for student self-directed learning and feedback must be timely to keep students actively engaged. Amanda Brindley Holton (UC Irvine) addresses what tools and tips worked for her when flipping classes with more than 100 students enrolled. She also includes a few tools she utilizes successfully to promote faculty organization and student engagement. Continue Reading

Learning About the Brain and the Effect on College Students’ Study Strategies

For all their learning, most students (and faculty members) fail to think about the learning process. In our roles as academic advisors and classroom instructors, we have the opportunity to promote good study habits and tips for success with students. Along with content of the course, we can help students to be successful by teaching them to think about the process of learning. Deborah Brown (West Chester University) provides a succinct guide listing habits we can encourage students to cultivate that promote success and well being. Continue Reading

Tempering the Syllabus: From Contract to Invitation, Map, and Guide

Mid way through a semester is the perfect time to look critically at your current syllabus and make notes about what changes you might make for next time you teach the course. Ponder briefly your lesson plans, grading schemes, guideposts for determining how to handle issues equitably, and overall tone and appearance. How can one develop a syllabus that balances institutional mandates, represents faculty preferences, and all the while invites to students to become excited about the course? This blog by Keisha Paxton (CSU Dominguez Hills) and Emily Daniell Magruder (CSU Office of the Chancellor) offers a guide to help you think about a few nuances of constructing your syllabus. Continue Reading

Strategic Planning for Teaching and Learning

It is easy to get stuck in a rut and use the same instructional approaches day after day, and semester after semester. The current Scholarly Teacher blog was contributed by Mark Hofer, College of William and Mary, and presents another way to expand our teaching practice by planning activities and assignments that pair student cognitive activity with student engagement. Many of these strategies may be quickly integrated into an existing class. Of course, as you begin to think about the 2016-2017 academic year, this post may inspire you to mix things up a bit by including a few new teaching strategies or rethinking a particular course assignment for improved student learning.​ Continue Reading

Gone Fishin’: How Bass Fishing Helped My Classroom Approach

With half of the semester behind us and half of the semester yet to come, it is easy to feel stress and strain. Are you connecting with students? Are they really “getting it”? Is this class “working”? Sometimes it easy to think that students participate less in a required course – because they just aren’t interested and aren’t going to be interested. Or perhaps there is a disconnect because the group dynamics or the students are tired before they even get to class. When things aren’t going as we had planned, and it feels like an uphill battle, it is easy to resign ourselves to the situation and simply count down the remaining class periods. Rather than abandon hope, Jay Rozema, Missouri Valley College, shares how He changed everything when he came to understand that teaching is like fishing. He doesn’t want you to “cut bait” but rather use your expertise, wisdom, and patience to set a winning attitude in the classroom through mindful teaching. Continue Reading