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Prin College Teach

by: Ali Greenfelder

Prin College Teach EDCI 943

Ali Greenfelder
GPA 3.98


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Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ali Greenfelder on Monday September 28, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to EDCI 943 at Kansas State University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see /class/214968/edci-943-kansas-state-university in Curriculum and Instruction at Kansas State University.

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Date Created: 09/28/15
The Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes Richard Felder and Rebecca Brent Like most faculty members we began our academic careers with zero prior instruction on college teaching and quickly made almost every possible blunder We39ve also been peer reviewers and mentors to colleagues and that experience on top of our own early stumbling has given us a good sense of the most common mistakes college teachers make In this column and one to follow we present our top ten list in roughly increasing order of badness Doing some of the things on the list may occasionally be justi ed so we39re not telling you to avoid all of them at all costs We are suggesting that you avoid making a habit of any of them Mistake 10 When you ask a question in class immediately call for volunteers You know what happens when you do that Most of the students avoid eye contact and either you get a response from one of the two or three who always volunteer or you answer your own question Few students even bother to think about the question since they know that eventually someone else will provide the answer We have a suggestion for a better way to handle questioning but it s the same one we39ll have for Mistake 9 so let39s hold off on it for a moment Mistake 9 Call on students cold You stop in midlecture and point your nger abruptly quotJoe what s the next stepquot Some students are comfortable under that kind of pressure but many could have trouble thinking of their own name If you frequently call on students without giving them time to think quotcoldcallingquot the ones who are intimidated by it won39t be following your lecture as much as praying that you don t land on them Even worse as soon as you call on someone the others breathe a sigh of relief and stop thinking A better approach to questioning in class is active learning 1 Ask the question and give the students a short time to come up with an answer working either individually or in small groups Stop them when the time is up and call on a few to report what they came up with Then if you haven t gotten the complete response you re looking for call for volunteers The students will have time to think about the question andunlike what happens when you always jump directly to volunteers Mistake 10most will try to come up with a response because they don t want to look bad if you call on them With active learning you39ll also avoid the intimidation of coldcalling Mistake 9 and you39ll get more and better answers to your questions Most importantly real learning will take place in class something that doesn39t happen much in traditional lectures 2 Mistake 8 Turn classes into PowerPoint shows It has become common for instructors to put their lecture notes into PowerPoint and to spend their class time mainly droning through the slides Classes like that are generally a waste of time for everyone3 If the students don t have paper copies of the slides there s no way they can keep up Ifthey have the copies they can read the slides faster than the instructor can lecture through them the classes are exercises in boredom the students have little incentive to show up and many don39t Turning classes into extended slide shows is a speci c example of Mistake 7 Fail to provide variety in instruction Nonstop lecturing produces very little learning but if good instructors never lectured they could not motivate students by occasionally sharing their experience and wisdom Pure PowerPoint shows are ineffective but so are lectures with no visual contentschematics diagrams animations photos video clips etcfor which PowerPoint is ideal Individual student assignments alone would not teach students the critical skills of teamwork leadership and con ict management they will need to succeed as professionals but team assignments alone would not promote the equally important trait of independent learning Effective instruction mixes things up board work multimedia storytelling discussion activities individual assignments and group work being careful to avoid Mistake 6 The more variety you build in the more effective the class is likely to be Mistake 6 Have students work in groups with no individual accountability All students and instructors who have ever been involved with group work know the potential downside One or two students do the work the others coast along understanding little of what their more responsible teammates did everyone gets the same grade resentments and con icts build and the students learn nothing about highperformance teamwork and how to achieve it The way to make groups work is cooperative learning an exhaustively researched instructional method that effectively promotes development of both cognitive and interpersonal skills One of the de ning features of this method is individual accountabilityholding each team member accountable for the entire project and not just the part that he or she may have focused on References on cooperative learning offer suggestions for achieving individual accountability including giving individual exams covering the full range of knowledge and skills required to complete the project and assigning individual grades based in part on how well the students met their responsibilities to their team 45 Mistake 5 Fail to establish relevance Students learn best when they clearly perceive the relevance of course content to their interests and career goals The quottrust mequot approach to education quotYou may have no idea now why you need to know this stuff but trust me in a few years you39ll see how important it is quot doesn39t inspire students with a burning desire to learn and those who do learn tend to be motivated only by grades To provide better motivation begin the course by describing how the content relates to important technological and social problems and to whatever you know of the students39 experience interests and career goals and do the same thing when you introduce each new topic If there are no such connections why is the course being taught Consider applying inductive methods such as guided inquiry and problembased learning which use realworld problems to provide context for all course material 6 You can anticipate some student resistance to those methods since they force students to take unaccustomed responsibility for their own learning but there are effective ways to defuse resistance 7 and the methods lead to enough additional learning to justify whatever additional effort it may take to implement them Mistake 4 Give tests that are too long Engineering professors routinely give exams that are too long for most of their students The exams may include problems that involve a lot of timeconsuming mathematical analysis andor calculations or problems with unfamiliar twists that may take a long time to gure out or just too many problems The few students who work fast enough to nish may make careless mistakes but can still do well thanks to partial credit while those who never get to some problems or who can39t quickly figure out the tricks get failing grades After several such experiences many students switch to other curricula one factor among several that cause engineering enrollments to decrease by 40 or more in the first two years of the curriculum When concerns are raised about the impact of this attrition on the engineering pipeline the instructors argue that the dropouts are all incompetent or lazy and unquali ed to be engineers The instructors are wrong Studies that have attempted to correlate grades of graduates with subsequent career success as measured by promotions salary increases and employer evaluations have found that the correlations are negligible 8 students who drop out of engineering have the same academic pro le as those who stay 9 and no one has ever demonstrated that students who can solve a quantitative problem in 20 minutes will do any better as engineers than students who need 35 minutes In fact students who are careful and methodical but slow may be better engineers than students who are quick but careless Consider which type you would rather have designing the bridges you drive across or the planes you y in If you want to evaluate your students39 potential to be successful professionals test their mastery of the knowledge and skills you are teaching not their problemsolving speed After you make up a test and think it39s perfect take it and time yourself and make sure you give the students at least three times longer to take it than you needed since you made it up you don t have to stop and think about itand if a test is particularly challenging or involves a lot of derivations or calculations the ratio should be four or ve to one for the test to be fair 10 Mistake 3 Get stuck in a rut Some instructors teach a course two or three times feel satisfied with their lecture notes and PowerPoint slides and assignments and don t change a thing for the rest of their careers except maybe to update a couple of references Such courses often become mechanical for the instructors boring for the students and after a while hopelessly antiquated Things are always happening that provide incentives and opportunities for improving courses New developments in course subject areas are presented in research journals changes in the global economy call on programs to equip their graduates with new skills improved teaching techniques are described in conference presentations and papers and new instructional resources are made available in digital libraries such as SMETE wwwsmeteorgh Merlot wwwmerlotorgmerlotindexhtmb and the MIT Open Courseware site httpocwmitedub This is not to say that you have to make major revisions in your course every time you give ityou probably don t have time to do that and there s no reason to Rather just keep your eyes open for possible improvements you might make in the time available to you Go to some education sessions at professional conferences read articles in educational journals in your discipline visit one or two of those digital libraries to see what tutorials demonstrations and simulations they39ve got for your course and commit to making one or two changes in the course whenever you teach it If you do that the course won39t get stale and neither will you Mistake 2 Teach without clear learning objectives The traditional approach to teaching is to design lectures and assignments that cover topics listed in the syllabus give exams on those topics and move on The rst time most instructors think seriously about what they want students to do with the course material is when they write the exams by which time it may be too late to provide suf cient practice in the skills required to solve the exam problems It is pointless and arguably unethical to test students on skills you haven t really taught A key to making courses coherent and tests fair is to write learning obj ectives explicit statements of what students should be able to do if they have learned what the instructor wants them to leamand to use the objectives as the basis for designing lessons assignments and exams 11 The objectives should all specify observable actions eg define explain calculate solve model critique and design avoiding vague and unobservable terms like know learn understand and appreciate Besides using the objectives to design your instruction consider sharing them with the students as study guides for exams The clearer you are about your expectations especially highlevel ones that involve deep analysis and conceptual understanding critical thinking and creative thinking the more likely the students will be to meet them and nothing clari es expectations like good learning objectives Mistake 1 Disrespect students How much students learn in a course depends to a great extent on the instructor s attitude Two different instructors could teach the same material to the same group of students using the same methods give identical exams and get dramatically different results Under one teacher the students might get good grades and give high ratings to the course and instructor under the other teacher the grades could be low the ratings could be abysmal and if the course is a gateway to the curriculum many of the students might not be there next semester The difference between the students39 performance in the two classes could easily stem from the instructors39 attitudes If Instructor A conveys respect for the students and a sense that he she cares about their learning and Instructor B appears indifferent andor disrespectful the differences in exam grades and ratings should come as no surprise Even if you genuinely respect and care about your students you can unintentionally give them the opposite sense Here are several ways to do it 1 Make sarcastic remarks in class about their skills intelligence and work ethics 2 disparage their questions or their responses to your questions 3 give the impression that you are in front of them because it39s your job not because you like the subject and enjoy teaching it 4 frequently come to class unprepared run overtime and cancel classes 5 don t show up for of ce hours or show up but act annoyed when students come in with questions If you39ve slipped into any of those practices try to drop them If you give students a sense that you don t respect them the class will probably be a bad experience for everyone no matter what else you do while if you clearly convey respect and caring it will cover a multitude of pedagogical sins you might commit References 1 RM Felder and R Brent quotLearning by Doingquot Chem Engr Education 374 282283 2003 ltwwwncsuedufelderpublicColumnsActivepdfgt 2 M Prince quotDoes Active Learning Work A Review of the Researchquot J Engr Education 933 223 231 2004 ltwwwncsuedufelderpublicPapersPrince ALpdfgt 3 RM F elder and R Brent quotDeath by PowerPointquot Chem Engr Education 391 2829 2005 ltwwwncsuedufelderpublicColumnsPowerPointpdfgt 4 RM Felder and R Brent quotCooperative Learningquot in PA lVIabrouk ed Active Learning Models from the Analytical Sciences ACS Symposium Series 970 Chapter 4 Washington DC American Chemical Society 2007 ltwwwncsuedufelderpublicPapersCLChapterpdfgt 5 CATME Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness ltwwwcatmeorggt 6 MJ Prince and RM Felder quotInductive Teaching and Learning Methods De nitions Comparisons and Research Basesquot J Engr Education 952 123138 2006 ltwwwncsuedufelder publicPapersInductiveTeachingpdfgt 7 RM Felder quotSermons for Grumpy Campersquot Chem Engr Education 413 183184 2007 ltwwwncsu edu felderpub lic Co lumns Sermons pdfgt 8 PA Cohen quotCollege Grades and Adult Achievement A Research Synthesisquot Res in Higher Ed 203 281293 1984 GE Samson ME Graue T Weinstein amp HJ Walberg quotAcademic and Occupational Performance A Quantitative Synthesisquot Am Educ Res Journal 2 212 311321 1984 9 E Seymour amp NM Hewitt Talking about Leaving Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences Boulder CO Westview Press 1997 10 RM Felder quotDesigning Tests to Maximize Learning J Prof Issues in Engr Education and Practice 1281 13 2002 lthttpwwwncsuedufelderpublicPapersTestingTipshtmgt 11 RM Felder amp R Brent quotObjectiver Speakingquot Chem Engr Education 313 178179 1997 lthttp wwwncsu edu felderpub lic Co lumns Obj ectives html gt


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