Mary Anne Britt
Many of us assume that the instructions for tasks we give students are clear and will help them begin the development of the thinking and reading skills expected within our discipline. My research in the lab and classroom, however, shows that this is not always the case. What I have found is that students need more direction about instructors’ specific goals, which are rarely conveyed directly to students. In this talk I share a model of reading for a purpose that I have developed with my colleagues, including evidence that helping students more clearly understand the disciplinary goals for reading can help students learn. I also discuss how you might use this model to help students learn more autonomously.
E. Taylor Atkins
Contrary to "populist" opinion, we still need expertise; but experts must recognize their own limits with humility and be open to the "gems" students bring to the classroom, which can enhance our own understanding and the ways we communicate our knowledge to others. On the best days in the classroom, the learners teach, and the teacher learns.
In this seminar, E. Taylor Atkins shares two quotations that form the core principles of my teaching philosophy and practice. As much as he enjoys the performative aspects of teaching, he is guided by the belief that all students possess "gems of inestimable value" within themselves, many of which they do not realize are there. He works to identify those and help pull them out. He shares some of the assignments and activities he has created (or in some cases, borrowed and adapted) to mine those gems.
The Presidential Teaching Professor Award is the highest honor a faculty member can receive at NIU for outstanding contributions to teaching. Each fall and spring semester one Presidential Teaching Professor award recipient delivers a seminar to share his or her teaching experience and expertise.
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