All posts by filipapajevic

Learning to learn


This post is part of the Aspirations to Action series created as a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important Symposium.

While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1709

Alexander Pope may have been addressing an audience of literary critics, but his message is  just as applicable to both faculty and students. To judge fairly and wisely – he wrote – be humble, follow nature, and study deeply. So what does it mean to study deeply? Continue reading Learning to learn

Creativity (and why it’s important)


This post is part of the Aspirations to Action series created as a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important Symposium.

As an aspiring urban planning scholar, I’m frequently exposed to discussions about the importance of creativity to cities. I should preface this by stressing just how multifaceted the field of urban planning is… There are so many ways to approach things in urban planning. It’s both a blessing and a curse really… but that is a story for another day and time.

Right. So. Creativity. Continue reading Creativity (and why it’s important)

Linking Theory to Practice – A little more action, please


This post is part of the Aspirations to Action series created as a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important Symposium.

Linking theory to practice is an important learning aspiration. Let’s be honest: how many times have you heard the one about the undergrad who steps out of his/her cap and gown into the real world to realize a split second later that they know so much but know so little. You’ve heard it, right? (Perhaps even experienced that feeling yourself). It is the shared responsibility of lecturers and instructors to try to mitigate that moment — to work together so students are prepared for life after graduation, equipped with enough theory to understand the world, and enough practical experience to challenge that same understanding. So how do we create opportunities that inspire students to seek out links between theory and practice? Here are some ideas already put into practice by McGill professors…. Continue reading Linking Theory to Practice – A little more action, please

Communication Skills – Talk the Walk


This post is part of the Aspirations to Action series created as a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important Symposium.

Whatever the end goal may be – whether it is to inform or raise awareness, establish trust or get support – communication is as important a skill as any. Learning how to address an audience, to inspire, to engage, and to hit a nerve will also help students organize their ideas and think about how these ideas could affect the world. And sometimes it is just good to know how to best explain debt financing to a botanist… It’s not enough to know the material; knowing how to adapt your message to a particular audience is also important. So what are some of the ways to make sure that our students develop such communication skills? Here are a few McGill examples…. Continue reading Communication Skills – Talk the Walk

Teamwork – The Beauty of the Sport


This post is part of the Aspirations to Action series created as a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important Symposium.

Learning how to work together is indeed the beauty of any sport. However, teaching students how to manage group expectations, capabilities and skills so as to produce fruitful results can be challenging. A valuable management skill that cuts across all fields, teamwork is an art that is taught in different ways, and in combination with other skills (research skills, thinking about how theory and knowledge applies to practice, communication skills). Continue reading Teamwork – The Beauty of the Sport

Aspirations to action – a blog series


As a follow-up to the Teaching What’s Important (TWI) Symposium, held in December 2015, here is a blog series that brings to the fore some of the key discussion points of the event.

The fundamental question guiding the symposium was: What is most important for students to learn at university? During that time, we listened carefully to your contributions and recorded your input. Today we present a new blog series that builds on the aspirations you shared during the event.

These learning aspirations will be the key focus of this bi-weekly series, as we bring you our thoughts, some fresh ideas, and — most importantly — examples of teaching strategies used by McGill professors that aim to promote student engagement and learning both inside and outside the classroom.

We want to keep the conversation about achieving aspirations going, but we also want to make visible the range of exciting teaching methods used across the McGill campus.  We invite you to keep your ears to the ground, to connect and to share ideas about effective teaching strategies.

Stay tuned!

Filipa Pajević & Marcy Slapcoff, Teaching and Learning Services

Aspirations to Actions returns every other Thursday with new content pertaining to one or more learning aspirations!

Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights


On December 11th, 2015, McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) held a symposium for faculty with a focus on translating aspirations for student learning into pedagogical strategies. The event, Teaching What’s Important: Educating Students for Today and Tomorrow, called upon a range of university professors to showcase their strategies and experiences, and join the discussion about the possibilities for undergraduate education at McGill. With a turnout of 135 (a mostly faculty members, but also staff and a few students), the discussion was certainly though-provoking. For some highlights, please see below: Continue reading Teaching What’s Important: Symposium Highlights