Professional Development? But I’m Already a Good Teacher! 

According to Goobler (2019), most academics still receive little to no preparation for teaching in their graduate programs. And, although pedagogical coaching services and resources are available through teaching and learning centers like CETL, Mintz (2022) argues that most faculty don’t take advance of these services because “upwards of 80% of college instructors believe that their teaching is above average. But would you tell an “above average” student in your course there is no area(s) for further development? Of course not!  If student achievement is correlated with effective teaching practices, is it possible to improve the performance of your students without improving your instruction?  Not likely. We hope you will click here to learn six things that can make you more successful in the college classroom. 

Engaging Students with Verb Boards and Whiteboarding 

Research is clear about the importance of keeping students actively engaged during the learning process, so even if you adhere to the traditional lecture approach your students need not remain passive. An active learning strategy referred to as “whiteboarding” (using Steelcase Verb Whiteboards) has proven to be an effective way to engage learners during lecture (Inouye, Bae, & Hayes). During whiteboarding, students work in small groups using handheld dry erase boards to actively retrieve, discuss, visually represent, and apply concepts presented in the lecture.  Because these activities can be used for brainstorming, collaborative problem solving, or even to make the understanding of concepts visible, instructors can immediately identify and address student misconceptions. To learn more about the use of verb whiteboards, read this professor’s blog. If you’re interested in trying this technique, contact Chapman’s ETS team for how to access Verb Whiteboards. 

What’s in a name? Rethinking Assessment Types and Naming Conventions to Alleviate Student Stress  

The word exam alone can be enough to cause students to break into a sweat. Unsurprisingly, many studies have found that students often suffer not only from test anxiety, but communication and social anxiety as well, and that anxiety has an impact on student success (England, Brigati, Schussler, & Chen, 2019). There are a number of ways to help reduce students’ anxiety about tests and grades, including the use of frequent formative assessments throughout a course rather than only a few high-stakes, summative assessments that make up a large percentage of a course grade. Another, very simple way we can help alleviate students’ anxiety is to consider how we present our assessments. For instance, instead of a quiz, we might have a “knowledge check.” Parr (2020) has re-named her exams “Data Analysis Assignments,” while others have found a variety of different ways to assess student learning without using a typical (dreaded) exam. For more evidence-based strategies that can be used to alleviate student stress, see this article, published by Chapman faculty Jeremy Hsu and Gregory Goldsmith. 

Interested in exploring any of these ideas further or discussing how you might implement them in your own teaching practices? Is there a tip you’ve tried that you’d like to share with colleagues? Contact CETL or schedule a consultation to continue the conversation