Effective classroom management is much more than just administering corrective measures when a student misbehaves; it's about developing proactive ways to prevent problems from occurring in the first place while creating a positive learning environment.
Establishing that climate for learning is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, and one of the most difficult skills to master. For those new to the profession, failure to set the right tone will greatly hinder your effectiveness as a teacher. Indeed, even experienced faculty may sometimes feel frustrated by classroom management issues. Strategies that worked for years suddenly become ineffective in the face of some of the challenges today’s students bring with them to the classroom.
In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a certain set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occa-sional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike.
In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. It’s a little like trying to drive in a foreign country. You know how to drive, just like you know how to teach, but it sure is hard to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road, you’re not quite sure how far a kilometer is, and darn it if those road signs aren’t all in Japanese.
You wait with anticipation. You receive the email: Course assignments are posted. You click on your Course Assignment. And—you’re assigned to teach a course that you have never taught before. Maybe you feel excitement, maybe you feel anxiety, or some mixture of the two. Emotion aside, how do you plan a new course?
Getting students to take their reading assignments seriously is a constant battle. Even syllabus language just short of death threats, firmly stated admonitions regularly delivered in class, and the unannounced pop quiz slapped on desks when nobody answers questions about the reading don’t necessarily change student behaviors or attitudes.
Pofessional development should be an ongoing endeavor for all faculty members because their growth as instructors has a profound impact on their students. There are always opportunities for improvement, new teaching techniques to learn and master, and experiences to share with colleagues.
This is why we have created this special report. Whether your institution has extensive, well-funded faculty development initiatives or you operate on a shoestring, I’m sure you will find some useful information in this special report to help with your faculty develop-ment efforts.
The articles, compiled from The Teaching Professor and Academic Leader, offer inspira-tion and practical (and often inexpensive) ways to accomplish the goal of improved teaching and learning.
Too many university supervisors and administrators criticize the absence of lesson closure, a dubious assessment practice likely caused by the improper use of Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan model (PDF) as a de facto checklist of eight mandatory teaching practices -- anticipatory set, objective and purpose, input, modeling, checking for understanding, guided practice, independent practice, and closure -- a custom that Hunter decried in 1985 (PDF). Although it offers multiple benefits, please don't view closure as a professional must-do.
To write well, college students need to read to deepen their understanding of language. And they need to write. The 24 essays in this collection will prompt teachers to help their students grasp changes in what is acceptable language, explore the mysteries
of word usage, and learn strategies to improve their writing. The essays are drawn from Lingua Franca, The Chronicle’s free blog about language in academe. Students can read these posts and new ones at chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca.
With so many classroom research studies published daily, you can be forgiven for missing some. The techniques below are super-tactical and, for the most part, unsung strategies that you’ll be excited to try tomorrow.
Without question, a major classroom challenge facing today’s educators is getting their students to put down their phones and pick up their level of engagement. While a generation ago educators might find their students getting sidetracked by an attractive classmate, an enchanting daydream or passing notes about an upcoming tailgate party, today’s smartphones present educators with a whole new array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
According to the 2011 article “The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students,” published in College Teaching, after surveying “269 college students from 21 academic majors at a small Northeastern university,” authors Deborah R. Tindall and Robert W. Bohlander found that “95 percent of students bring their phones to class every day, 92 percent use their phones to text message during class time and 10 percent admit they have texted during an exam on at least one occasion.”
This challenging time provides an opportunity for students to work on real-world problems
they see every day.
Amid a pandemic, educators are trying to figure out how to make sure that kids are socially in tune, emotionally intact, and cognitively engaged. Moreover, we’re all attempting to figure out how to do this across a plethora of mediums, including computer screens, video cameras streaming into classrooms, and engaging students face-to-face albeit across shields, masks, and plexiglass.
Still, there is an opportunity here to give students a chance to discuss the challenges of their own environment, the barrage of news they face daily, and the core content they need for long-term success. One of the best options to meet these demands is for students to engage in rigorous problem- or project-based learning (PBL)—an approach that ensures students develop high rigor and experience high relevance by solving problems or
completing tasks in a remote or face-to-face environment.
Four years ago, when I started work as a lecturer in a rhetoric department, I knew very little about the field. My Ph.D. is in English, and I had only taught in English departments up until then. But among the handful of things I did know about teaching this subject was the concept of the rhetorical triangle.
That device has proved useful over the years — both in my classroom and in my own writing. But lately, as my career has shifted from being an instructor to helping other faculty members improve their teaching, I’ve been thinking about how the rhetorical triangle is a handy way to help faculty members understand some of the fundamental challenges of student-centered teaching.
As so many of us try to juggle teaching virtually or in a hybrid format this year, I’ve decided to focus my energy on technology that will help me no matter the setting. These three tech tools have had a huge impact on me, my staff, and my students.
With experts projection that five million K-12 students will enroll in online course by 2016, thee is no doubt that blended learning asking the key question: "Does blended learning give better outcomes than traditional classes?"
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and crew are so intimidated by the Wizard's enigmatic personality that they struggle to talk with him on equal footing. Fear and frustration overwhelm them as they blindly accept a suicide mission to slay the Witch of the West. In return, they each receive a treasured prize: a heart, a brain, courage, and a way home. Ironically, they already have these gifts -- which they only discover after unveiling the man behind the curtain posing as the grumpy wizard.
Differentiated instruction (DI) casts a spell on educators as to how it meets all students' needs. The skillset required to differentiate seems mystical to some and incomprehensible to others in this environment of state standards and high-stakes tests. Where does one find the time? The reality is that every teacher already has the tools to differentiate in powerful ways for all learners. I address some of these elements, such as assessment fog, in other Edutopia posts.
Is it just that time of the semester, or are academics more and more stressed out? In the past week alone, I’ve talked with:
-A colleague emotionally reeling from counseling two students who each had a parent die this semester.
-Another unsettled colleague who received an expletive-filled email from an angry student demanding to "speak to your supervisor."
-A friend at another institution buried under a mountain of papers — the product of a fourth course that he’s teaching on overload to make a little extra money.
Where I teach — a small, primarily residential liberal-arts college — there was a time when professors would have avoided online teaching like the plague. Five years ago I wasn’t teaching any online courses. This semester, my entire course load is online. And so is next semester’s.
What’s interesting is how many of us who work at "traditional" colleges — where dorms and dining halls occupy equal pride of place with classrooms and laboratories — are now trying to figure out how to create an online version of a face-to-face course we’ve been teaching for years.
I’ve never been too big on New Year’s resolutions. That probably has a lot to do with January’s place in the school year. The changing of the calendar year is really just a short gasp of air between semesters. The real new year in academe— the time for new beginnings and fresh starts — comes now, in August. I’ve had time away from the classroom to recharge my batteries and to forget about teaching for a while. I want to be a better teacher this year than I was last year. August is my month of big plans, of good intentions, of new leaves ready to be turned over.
Given the apparent importance of making such plans public, I thought I’d share some of my new (school) year resolutions, and ask you to share your own in the comments below. Here are some of the things I want to do this year:
As a faculty member, you may be all in favor of organizing your course so that students learn from their mistakes. You would like to oﬀer students multiple opportunities to take an exam or complete an assignment because you know that makes pedagogical sense. Yet the logistics keep getting in the way.
Similarly, many instructors, myself included, understand the appeal of a grading system — like speciﬁcations grading — that emphasizes mastery of learning outcomes regardless of when that mastery is achieved. But departmental, institutional, or other constraints prevent us from switching.
In October of 1979, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara Tuchman delivered al ecture at West Point in which she decried the “persistence of unwisdom” among politicians across the ages. Reflecting on how American presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon had embroiled the United States more deeply in the Vietnam War, Tuchman bemoaned a perennial “wooden-headedness” -- a tendency for politicians to act wishfully, while not allowing themselves to be “confused by facts.”
Consuming information online is as simple as a click, scroll, or swipe these days. All searches are not created equal — and rarely do we think about fact checking what we find on the internet.
“…The internet is actually changing the way we read, the way we reason, and even the way we think, and all for the worse,” says Tom Nichols in his recently published book, The Death of Expertise.
In higher education, I think it is imperative that we teach our learners and peers about what it means to participate and interact in digital spaces and places. How can our institutions help students, staff, and faculty “be” online and consider how both information and digital environments impact knowledge sharing and learning.