Spring 2011

Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology
Faculty Luncheon Workshop Series
Spring 2011

Wednesday, February 23rd 12:00 -1:30 in L214
From Passive to Active Learning: Helping Students Make the Shift
Co-Facilitated by Jim Burgess, Health Policy and Management and Rob Schadt, OTLT

Why do many students appear reluctant to participate in classroom learning discourse? The case for active learning is well made across many studies in educational research and strategies to encourage active learning are becoming more familiar to both faculty and students. However, despite many of our best efforts to engage them many students remain with a propensity to sit back and have education ”done unto them”. In this discussion we will speculate on resistance to active learning and demonstrate one interactive strategy which will enable us to do something about it. Some questions we’ll consider include:

  • What do we do when we see students sending vibes inhibiting other students from making comments?
  • Do we give up and just break them into groups where invariably they talk and talk and you can’t stop them from talking?
  • Are we doing our students a disservice by making class too easy (where answers are there) relative to the real practice work world they are about to enter?

Tuesday, March 22nd 12:00 -1:30 in the Founders’ Room (T307)
Teaching With Your Mouth Shut
A discussion of the book of the same name by Donald Finkel facilitated by Rab Schadt, OTLT

In the preface Finkel writes, “In this book I argue that our culture’s image of ‘the great professor’ is 
destructively narrow. The traditional ‘great teacher’ inspires his students through eloquent, passionate speaking. He teaches by telling. I use my title phrase to move beyond this restrictive notion of good teaching. Each chapter of this book illustrates a different way a teachercan teach with his mouth shut… the book is not intended as a manual for teachers. It aims to provoke reflection on the many ways teaching can be organized. It attempts to engage its readers in a conversation about education.” Through reading and conversation we will look at some of the most central practices of our teaching. Copies of the book will be provided to interested participants. This is a reprise of a session done 6 years ago in our luncheon workshop series.

Thursday 4/22/11
Magna Online Seminar (Lunch and prerecorded online seminar at 12:00 Discussion from 1-2 PM)
9 Ways to Use ClassDiscussion to Promote Transformation
Promoting Critical Thinking Through Both Constructive Controversy and Collaborative Dialogue
Dr. Roben Torosyan, Fairfield University

Classroom discussions give students an opportunity to both delve into their course material and develop their learning skills. But initiating discussion, facilitating participation by everyone and getting students to build on each other’s contributions takes work. In this seminar you’ll learn how to encourage your students to:

  • Listen to and understand opposing viewpoints
  • Learn from their mistakes
  • Recognize errors in their thinking
  • Become effective team players and leaders.

Dr. Raben Torosyan will share techniques to enhance classroom discussion and make it a vehicle for active learning and intellectual development. Drawing on his extensive experience in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and his own background as an educator and consultant, Dr. Torosyan emphasizes an innovative and practical approach.

In 9 Ways to Use Class Discussion to Promote Transformation, this is some of what you’ll learn: 

  • How to have students set and follow ground rules for classroom discussion
  • How to use short, ungraded writing assignments to deepen thinking and discussion
  • How to slow the flow of classroom discussion, and probe deeper
  • How to hear from (nearly) everyone
  • How to make tangents a gift
  • How to keep discussion on track or re-frame it
  • How to break up cliques in the classroom
  • How to use structured controversy to deal with differences productively
  • How to use comments to make the group responsible for its own dynamics
  • How to summarize what was learned
  • How to infuse variety into classroom discussions