One of the reoccurring elements explained to me on the first day of my Practicum at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) was the emphasis the TLS team places on feedback and cooperation. The idea sounded helpful; colleagues working together to support one another. I don’t think I truly grasped the importance of the cooperative working environment they developed until I hosted my first meeting at TLS. Continue reading Sharing is Caring: When Colleagues Exchange Knowledge
The passing of a family member and brief hospital admission marked my first two months at McGill. (Please keep reading, I promise I won’t regale you with a tale of woe here.) Thanks to an advisor at the Office of Advising and Student Information Services (OASIS), I was able to withdraw from courses or defer exams, finishing my first year largely academically unscathed. My situation was not unique – almost all of my peers have experienced some difficulty that was detrimental to their wellness. After speaking with more students, I realized that I was incredibly fortunate to have accessed and been supported by resources at McGill (OASIS, McGill Counselling, McGill Students’ Nightline). While a variety of on-campus services for student support exist, many students are either unaware of or are unable to access them for a variety of reasons. As a result, some students do not receive support from McGill and the challenges they face significantly hinder their ability to learn. (Read student testimonials here, here and here.) Continue reading Pedagogy x Support: An Up-and-Coming Collab in the Classroom
Many instructors putting together a teaching portfolio for tenure or promotion find themselves stumped by this question. Maybe you are still relatively new to teaching. Maybe your approach is part personal experience as a former student, part trial and error. Maybe you have found your groove, but you never actually spent any time pondering about your underlying philosophy. So what are you supposed to write in your teaching portfolio? How do you begin? Continue reading What is my teaching approach (or philosophy)? Prompts to help you identify underlying beliefs and values.
What do 2 prize winning instructors, 10 instructors from a variety of disciplines and TLS staff have in common? They recently came together for an informal lunch to share experiences, ideas, questions, and tips about teaching. As a newcomer to the TLS team, I was glad to be able to join them. It was an opportunity to hear about TLS services in depth, as well as what was on instructors’ minds. Together, they engaged in a spirited exchange on a variety of topics. Continue reading The Lunch Spot: Let’s talk teaching
Teaching can be an isolating endeavour. Instructors often prep material on their own, go to class, teach, and then go back to their offices. What they do in class is almost like a hidden act shared only between themselves and their students. Especially at a research-intensive university, instructors don’t always have opportunities or make the time to chat with colleagues about what goes on in their classrooms. But such conversations have the potential for being valuable in that they can inform instructors’ choice of teaching strategies; they can inspire and motivate instructors to innovate in the classroom.
For one week last semester (November 20-24, 2017), eLATE (Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Engineering) held its first Teaching Week, an initiative that addressed the isolation by providing an opportunity for instructors in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science to “open” their classes for observation by their colleagues. Faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and senior PhD students could learn from peers and see first-hand the implementation of a variety of teaching strategies. Some 15 professors from Architecture, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Physics, and Urban Planning participated. Those wanting to observe had to register for logistics reasons, but other than that, the event was fairly informal—there were no articulated learning outcomes and instructors were not being evaluated by their peers! By fostering peer observation and discussion of teaching practices, eLATE’s Teaching Week sought to build a community of practice to enhance pedagogical excellence in the Faculty of Engineering. The initiative included “coffee and chat” and “happy hour” gatherings where colleagues could reflect on and discuss the classes they had observed during the week.
How can you help students connect related concepts in your course?
Join us for this second webinar in our series that will address questions and offer ideas on selecting teaching strategies based on how students learn.
- December 13, 12:15-12:45pm: Connecting: Teaching students to organize knowledge
Register now online!
Maryellen Weimer from Faculty Focus published a short article on “Getting Students to Take Responsibility for Learning” on their blog.
I’ve been writing for years that we need to teach in ways that encourage students to take more responsibility for their learning. Recently, it became clear that my thinking on this needed more detail and depth. I’ve been saying that it means students should be doing the learning tasks that make them stronger learners. They should be figuring out what’s important in the reading, rather than having the teacher to tell them. They should be taking notes rather than expecting to get the teacher’s slides and notes.
It was a question in a workshop that made me realize my answer wasn’t wrong, just incomplete. “In a formal learning situation, like a course, what responsibilities do students have?” After further reflection, my answer to that question is that the responsibilities exist across three areas.
Students do have a responsiblity in the teaching and learning process and she provides some insightful ideas on how to think this through.
Do you have ideas on getting students ot take responsibility for learning in your class? Post them below!