Should Students Form their Own Groups?

When using groups, teachers can form the groups or they can let students select their group members. When the groups are only working together for a class period or part of one, who forms the groups is less critical. However, recent research results offer convincing evidence that when the group interactions are more extend and students are working collectively on a project, there are some good reasons why teachers should form the groups.

Use of Appreciative Inquiry in the College Classroom

For non-traditional students who are working adults or are returning to school years later, the transition to college can be intimidating. Several of my students have expressed how hard it is to learn new concepts. Many feel their minds aren’t as “sharp” as they were the first time they attended college. Others talk about the stress that comes with having to balance family and work responsibilities with their course requirements. On more than one occasion, I have had to talk a student out of quitting a program because of one or all of these factors.

Collaboration Tools that Build Student Engagement

Every now and then I like to bring another voice into the classroom. The students have their say, I have my say, and the assigned reading has its say. A guest speaker can be a nice way to shake up this routine, and video now makes it easy to bring guest speakers to class.

Process Memos: A Dialogue between Students and Teachers

The two professors who developed this assignment created it “to help us engage more directly with students about their writing.” (p. 146) Most teachers who now assign writing emphasize that it’s a process, not something a writer sits down and does all at once. As these authors, note many students have negative attitudes about writing and writing assignments cause them significant anxiety.

Millennial Students and Classroom Communication

In 2000, Howe and Strauss identified the next big generation on the rise in colleges and universities and dubbed them the “Millennials.” Born between 1982 and 2002, these folks began arriving on our campuses in large numbers in the early 2000’s and continue to populate our classrooms today. Much has been written about the characteristics of these…

Ungraded Quizzes: Any Chance they Promote Learning?

Faculty rely on quizzes for a couple of reasons. They motivate most students to keep up with their class work and, if they’re unannounced, they motivate most students to show up regularly for class. The research on testing offers another reason, something called “the testing effect,” described as “the phenomenon in which people appear to retain more information about a topic if they are tested on that topic and engage in memory retrieval of topic information than if they simply reread or study that information.” (p. 174) It’s the idea behind practice tests.

Skillful Teaching: Core Assumptions

Stephen Brookfield is out with a third edition of The Skillful Teacher. Only a handful of books on teaching make it past the first edition so to be out with a third says something about the caliber of this publication. He notes in the preface that the first edition appeared during year 20 of his teaching career. With this edition he celebrates 45 years in the classroom. It seems more than appropriate to call the book a classic.

Questions That Bring Contemporary Context to Past Personalities

Most students find it difficult to think of famous historical personalities as real people. They also read texts without realizing that there are tangible personalities behind them. I have found one of the most effective ways to give flesh and blood to the past is by designing questions which ask students to bring authors, historical characters, and texts into the classroom.