Excellence in Teaching and Learning Appendix
EXAMPLES AND REFERNCES
The discussion relied on the personal experience of the retreat participants, in their own classrooms and through their knowledge of their colleagues. This set of examples serve as the "basic data" for our analysis of teaching. EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
- The classroom becomes a valuable place.
- One faculty member related how he uses templates, provided to the students in advance, as an organizing activity for his students. He uses these to increase their attention to interpreting data and to give practice in working through complicated tasks. This makes the classroom a place for the student to work directly on critical tasks, and for the teacher to observe the students and answer their needs directly.The role model is an important advantage of the practitioner-teacher. This extends into metathought: thinking about the thinking process, from the perspective of the expert who has mastered the art of sustained intelligent thinking about a process.
- Another example is when an outline for an "imaginary lecture" is used as a discussion point, where the students fill in the map of where a class discussion will proceed.
- The teacher who has an awareness of human and cognitive development will be able to take student preparation and make it a strong, not a disruptive, starting point.
- In this regard, faculty need assistance in recognizing that more advanced ways of communicating with their peers (lecture, heavily-referenced text) are not the way to start with students.
- The negotiation with the individual and the group allows the teacher to meet the course goals of active achievement by the students. This leads to a respect that goes with a collaborative environment.Humor, fallibility, and dialog are essential if student voices are to be shared in the presence of an expert. A faculty member whose ignorance of baseball prevented him from doing a simple problem became a mirror for learning to think through a problem.
- The ability to use amusing information as a starting point for serious discussions is the key in a discussion of neurotic cats and the action of central nervous system drugs.
- The tremendous diversity of UIC classrooms means that the cultural and academic backgrounds of the students can, in the hands of a skilled teacher, become a tremendous resource for the class.Case presentations, especially of independent student work, can be a way to get the students to take command of their own learning.Taking students out of the classroom, perhaps on a trip off campus, is a way of giving community experience that has meaning for everyone.
- The faculty member who is famous for his "cold stiletto" story can indicate to students that abstract responses are immediately important when life is on the line.
- This comes into play when the teacher clearly states the expectations for student progress. As one of the faculty put it, "I'm willing to give more than 50%–but they need to meet me."Of course, one effect of personalization of instruction is that the class will suffer if students are not prepared. Thus, the quality of the learning experience becomes a responsibility of the whole group, in part.
- One health professional shared how students learn that they will, indeed, use the best understanding of medicine and still lose patients, even commit acts that, because of insufficient data, are deadly.
- This requires faculty to provide consistent feedback, so the student works in an atmosphere of knowing what will be given in response.
- Assignments that have places where student error is common can be used as a way of showing that mistakes are part of the normal process, but that correction can be immediately applied.
- A clear command of the material is present within the teacher, who can then shape teaching
as a means of letting students gain command, also.
- One place this comes to the fore is in preventing quick conclusions. The skilled teacher will use his or her authority to keep a topic open, so students learn to look at preliminary conclusions with a critical light.The classroom experience is often deliberately orchestrated to elicit spontaneous student responses. This seeming contradiction is eliminated when the teacher has a clear plan for directing student responses in productive channels.
- In the same vein, when a truly surprising issue or point comes up, the adroit instructor can see quickly how it fits into the teaching and learning process.