Thinking about Thinking

This past Tuesday, several faculty and staff members gathered for the semester’s first Conversations on Teaching, which focused on promoting reflective learning and metacognition for better student learning. It was a thoughtful discussion, out of which several ideas emerged for collaborative work with students–so stay tuned. If you missed the session, you can find the resource guide by clicking here, and we’ll offer it again as a Saturday workshop later in the semester. It’s a fascinating and complex topic, with a lot of cutting-edge research suggesting that reflection and metacognition are key strategies for learning and retention.
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The Semester is Dead, Long Live the Semester

Another semester is staggering to a close marching toward a triumphant conclusion. There is a familiar consistency in the rhythm of the academic year; tree branches become bare, days get shorter, the Detroit Lions lose football games–you can almost set your watch by it. Yet part of that rhythm is the reality that as one semester ends, another one has essentially begun. And while we at least start a little later in January, the Spring semester looms over us. WATCHING. WAITING. WE’RE DOOMED. 1367686867113930
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I Feel the Need….The Need for SPEED

It’s that time of the semester, the one where we feel like our bag of tricks is nearly empty. It’s the time I feel like a tired Vegas Act with only half the material I need. Hello? Is this thing on? Tough crowd…HOW DO I KEEP THESE PEOPLE ENTERTAINED FOR ANOTHER 50 MINUTES?

If you’re in that same boat, we have good news for you! On Monday, Nov. 16, CETL will be hosting our first annual Speed-Geeking Festival at 4:00 PM in the Speed Lyceum (OOOH FANCY). We’ll have several tables where some of your colleagues will share one of their cool activities, assignments, or couGeek_by_Baddierse materials with you. After a few minutes, we’ll ring the bell, and you’ll go to a new table, with another colleague, and talk about another awesome thing they’re doing. It’s just like speed-dating, except less awkward and contrived. And unlike speed-dating, where your only takeaway is a lingering sense of social isolation, your takeaway here will be a handful of things you can either use right away in your classes or save as the foundation for cool things next semester. Plus, we’ll have snacks. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?

We hope you’ll join us on Monday–all faculty and staff are cordially invited. We’ll see you at 4:00, in the SPEED Lyceum to SPEED geek! (See what we did there?)

On to this week’s links:

They may be aimed at K-12 teachers, but I still chuckled at a good many of these “61 Best Teaching Memes.” Ah, the internet. Such magic.

As we head towards the holiday where we ponder what we’re thankful for, I’m continually struck by how thankful am for being surrounded by colleagues who are so passionately committed to their teaching and to student success. It’s inspiring to be a part of so many conversations about pedagogy and student learning where I learn as much as I teach. I’m reminded of a post by Josh Eyler from a couple of years ago where he reflects on the nature of “inspiration” in teaching. Eyler’s conclusion rings true for me: Inspiration, he says, comes not from a once-in-a-lifetime Dead Poets’ Society-type character, but from “those teachers on our own campuses who are doing outstanding work in their classrooms every single day as our models.  If inspiration is anywhere, I’m pretty sure it’s there.” I couldn’t agree more.

Looking for resources? Ideas? Help?

Click here for this week’s CETL Library Spotlight

Click here to contact CETL

The description of this video says: “Three bulldogs surfing to some Ethiopian jazz is easily the best thing you’ll see all week.” That is 100% accurate.

Lecture Me–Really?

You may have seen the recent New York Times op-ed piece by Molly Worthen, in which she defends the “traditional lecture” against what she sees as pedagogical threats posed by “the active learning craze” and a “populist resentment of experts.” The essay lit up social media in academic circles, and was shared and re-posted widely. Worthen certainly speaks to the things professors value: students who can take good notes, model critical argument, and learn to listen both closely and deeply.  Her argument that “comprehension and reasoning,” the two bedrock skills for “the essentials of working life and citizenship,” are the products of lecturing done well appeals to the content-geek in all of us. Who among us doesn’t have a vision of ourselves up on stage, waxing erudite about the intricacies of our discipline to an admiring throng of students hanging raptly upon our every word? Worthen’s call to return to the lecture and rediscover the essentials of a humanistic education is a seductive argument indeed. Continue reading “Lecture Me–Really?”