Tag Archives: faculty development

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!

Informal Talking Teaching Communities: Spread the Word!


In the 2015-2016 academic year, McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) launched The Lunch Spot—an informal lunch-time forum where all of the university’s instructors were invited to bring their brown bag lunches and gather for some informal talking about teaching. Working with the principle “if you feed them, they will come,” TLS encouraged partaking in The Lunch Spot with the offer of home-made sweet treats.*

The Lunch Spot continues this year at McGill’s TLS on the following dates: Friday, September 30, 2016 (please register) and Friday, January 27, 2017.

Given that I practically live for talking about teaching and that I have a sweet tooth, I participated in The Lunch Spot at every opportunity during the 2015-2016 academic year. It was time incredibly well spent: I met instructors from a variety of disciplines with whom I shared some of my favourite instructional strategies and from whom I got some motivating ideas. (I actually got one really cool idea from an Engineering professor about how to encourage students to pay attention to test and exam instructions.) Continue reading Informal Talking Teaching Communities: Spread the Word!

Assessment narratives in en-“lightning” style: Experiences from both sides of the table


Assessment Group Panel 2
Photo credit: Mirabel Xing

During an informative, brown bag, lunch session on Friday, March 18th, four professors and three students presented 3-minute lightning talks about their experiences with assessments of specific course assignments.  The professors described the rationales for their assignments and spoke about their feedback methods, while the students described their perspectives from the receiving end.  The lightning talks were followed by a lively question and answer period that allowed the speakers and audience members to share candid opinions about the topics raised. Continue reading Assessment narratives in en-“lightning” style: Experiences from both sides of the table

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

The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged


Faculty Focus has an interesting article on reframing lectures into eight minute sections. Many studies have demonstrated that students retain very little from lectures. However, lectures in small segments (interspersed with active learning strategies) can be a helpful strategy to help frame concepts and facilitate student focus.

The article provides some guidelines on how to implement an “eight-minute lecture” and gives some concrete examples of their use. Continue reading The Eight-Minute Lecture Keeps Students Engaged