Week 14 Teaching Tips

Hello Faculty,

Welcome to Week 14!  We hope this short week is filled with thanks, safe travels, good food, family, friends, shopping, catching up, rest, or whatever you choose to do for the long weekend.  This email includes a list of ideas to develop a community learners as suggestions for for our exploration of good teaching and culturally responsive and competent educators.

How can I develop a community of learner?

  • Use cooperative learning strategies for group work to help your groups be more balanced and effective by including five essential elements: http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/cooperative/whatis.html (see Week 3 Teaching Tips for more information and resources)
  • Choose activities that allow ALL students to participate each day.  For example, before asking the entire class to respond to a prompt, first have students discuss in pairs.
  • Mix up your students during class by counting off or by using playing cards, colored candy such as Starbursts, or colored paper.
  • Have students use effective group study methods during class to model what they can do outside of class.
  • Encourage students to exchange phone numbers or email address as they feel comfortable doing so.
  • Include activities on the first day of class.  We have previously sent articles including ideas and will send them again for the start of next semester.

What is good teaching?

Last year, we used the Teaching Tips to go through Chickering and Gamson’s 7 Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education and Ken Bain’s book “What the Best College Teachers Do” (based on Dee Fink’s summary).  At the May all-faculty session, we reviewed these summaries and introduced a table of “Common characteristics of culturally responsive and competent educators.”  In each of the remaining Teaching Tips emails this semester, we will focus on one of the six parts of the table and look the overlap between these three documents.  We will then look at ways in which we can improve our courses this semester and as we look forward to future semesters based on these summaries.

Common characteristics of culturally responsive & competent educators 7 Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education What the Best College Teachers Do
Developing a Learning Community Among Students:

“A climate of inclusion, respect, connect, and caring is fostered in the school and the classroom.  Interpersonal relationships are build and fostered, and a learning community culture is developed.

See above for ideas to help with this.

  • ​Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students
  • Teacher’s interactions show they CARE (1) about students, student learning, teaching-learning process, (2) about the subject of the course
  • Dynamic communication skills: (1) sense of drama, rhythm, (2) good use of language (a) use language of “promises” > “demands”, (c) express belief in students ability to learn, (d) celebrate achievements, (e) use warm language
  • Trustworthy: power-trust issues: (1) don’t use classroom to demonstrate power, (2) build trust relationships, (3) give power to student to make decisions about their own learning, (4) interact fairly (same policies for all)
  • Attitudes toward students: (1) trust, (2) never blame students for problems (for example: don’t say “students today just aren’t…” or “you have to force students to work hard.”


Thursdays, 12:45-1:15 pm in Library Breathing Room, Atma Jyotih Sangha with Jennifer Mason

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