Teaching Tip #13: Summertime and the living is EZ (er)

Can you see the light yet?  Right now, it may feel like that last big Light where your dear departed await, but it’s really just the end of the spring semester tunnel.  So, let’s look forward to planning your summer.   I hope you are including large dose of fun and relaxation; could some of that fun relate to your teaching?  Here are some ideas from the CTE:

Read: Not exactly beach reading, but if you’d like to stretch your thinking about teaching, here are some excellent choices.  The CTE has copies of all of these if you’d like to borrow one.

The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

Not a “how-to” book, but a reflection on the spirit, art, pain and passion of teaching.  We have multiple copies if several folks would like to read this together and discuss it.

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher by Stephen Brookfield

Brookfield encourages us to examine our work in the classroom critically through the four key “lenses” of self, students, colleagues, and theory.  Great examples and a sense of humor.

Our Underachieving Colleges by Derek Bok

Bok’s critique of current higher education will raise questions and make you uncomfortable at times.  Isn’t that what a good challenge is all about?  Another good group read!

The Art of Changing the Brain by James Zull

Neuroscience for all, as applied to teaching.  Clear, interesting and helps you understand how to apply what we know to your teaching.

Learner Centered Teaching by Maryellen Weimer

What are the ramifications of focusing closely on what students learn as opposed to what teachers teach?  Maryellen Weimer lays it out for you clearly and compellingly.

And one more book that I can’t recommend yet but plan to read this summer:

Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham.  Although this book is not specifically for higher education settings, it’s gotten rave reviews and I’m looking forward to it.  Care to join me?

Talk: It’s a good time to stop by the CTE and chat about including more inquiry in your courses, using technology, course design or other topics.  We have lots of information as well as suggestions taken from classroom practice, and we’re around pretty much all summer.  Stop by, call or email!

Write: Join a summer writing group.  Peer review isn’t just for students! Start working on a grant proposal or your application for sabbatical.  Finish up that article or start a new one.  We’re happy to host writing groups and help you get organized.  Email teaching@marymount.edu to express interest.

Play with Tech Toys: The CTE has clickers you can check out and Sympodia you can play with.  E-learning services will be offering BB 9 training regularly.  Go to https://www.marymount.edu/itstraining/ to check for group training or contact elearning services if you need individual training.

Take a workshop: WI workshops will be offered through the summer; even if you’re not teaching a WI courses you will learn how to incorporate writing into ANY course in ANY discipline!  Contact Sylvia Whitman at Sylvia.whitman@marymount.edu for more information and to sign up.

Plan a course portfolio: Join a few colleagues and plan to design a course portfolio for one of your classes next year.  Why would you want to do that?  A course portfolio can help you improve the course for yourself and your students, it can provide evidence of your teaching skills and your commitment to teaching excellence and you can hang out with like-minded colleagues and share ideas.

We will have an organizational lunch meeting on May 26th at noon on the Main Campus.  Please email Carolyn.oxenford@marymount.edu or teaching@marymount.edu if you are interested (whether or not you can make it on May 26).

So, what are you doing this summer?  What would you like to try? Share the fun!

Note: This will be the last regular teaching tip post until August.  I would love to hear suggestions for topics you like and things you’re bored with.  Guest bloggers are also welcome!

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