Monday, January 31, 2011

January 24 -> Delivery of information, What makes it clear?

“…a major difficulty that beginning teachers face is the challenge to define for themselves their teacher persona” (p 139) was the inspirational quote which led off the discussion on January 24, 2011. Taken from McCann, T., Why Do New Teachers Cry?, p 138-145, Heldref Publications, Taylor & Francis, Ltd., the discussion focused on developing an engaging teaching style.

GTC supplied video clips illustrating good and bad teaching styles with UCD Grad Students acting in the roles of the TA which were a great teaching aid.

Through brain storming and small group discussion, participants recalled characteristics of their most respected past teachers to determine the styles of presentation, movement and speech that most successfully motivated learning. Ideas generated included keeping the audience interested by offering casual ice breaking situations to facilitate class discussion, presenting an appropriately encouraging personal style and validating student participation in discussions. An effective example was given of validating a wrong answer as a way of illustrating a common misunderstanding that can lead to the correct answer.

McKeachie, W., TEACHING TIPS, A Guidebook for the Beginning College Teacher, supplied the quote: “Effective lecturers combine the talents of scholar, writer, producer, comedian, showman, and teacher in ways that contribute to student learning.” (p 69)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Retrieval practice (e.g. tests) may help memorization...more than concept mapping.

Are tests just for assessing and feedback? In an experiment, students that did a memory retrieval practice (10-min free-writing on a text passage they had just read) did better on a test taken a week after, compared to students that did concept mapping, just read the passage, or repeatedly studied the passage (tot of 200 students in the study).

"When we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access” to that information, Dr. Bjork (one of the study authors) said. “What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later”.

“More testing isn’t necessarily better,” said Dr. Linn, who said her work with California school districts had found that asking students to explain what they did in a science experiment rather than having them simply conduct the hands-on experiment — a version of retrieval practice testing — was beneficial. “Some tests are just not learning opportunities. We need a different kind of testing than we currently have.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Schedule for Winter 2011

January 24: delivery of information happens. what makes it clear and effective? (Nan + Betta)

January 31: Podcasts for your class (Caitlin)

February 7: lesson plans, keeping in mind how the brain works (Michael+ Erin)

February 14: learning while taking tests (all)

February 21: holiday, no meeting

February 28: peer instruction (Jeff)

March 7: making lecture content understandable to a wide audience, e.g. ESL students and minorities (Kate)

March 14: storytelling makes you learn better (Alex)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Workshop Series-- Student Engagement: Mission Possible

This winter the TA Consultants will offer a 6 part workshop series focused on ways to engage students in their learning. We hope to attract participants from across campus and would especially welcome GTC members! There is more information below and you can register your interest in the workshops here.

Student Engagement: Mission Possible

Winter Workshop Series for Graduate Students

Thursdays, January 20 - February 24, 2010

3-5 pm

Room 1310 Surge III

This workshop series focuses on helping instructors engage and empower their students. Participants will explore different methods for creating positive, inclusive learning environments. You will be encouraged to step outside your teaching ‘comfort zone’ and experiment with different methods for improving student learning. The objective is to provide participants with new tools and strategies to implement in their classrooms. Individuals from all disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to attend these workshops, and those who attend five of the six sessions will be awarded a certificate from the UC Davis Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).

Register your interest and view descriptions for individual workshops at:

All graduate students are welcome.


Student Engagement: Mission Possible

January 20, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Beyond 'Do You All Understand?': Language, Difference, and Learning in a Heterogeneous Classroom

January 27, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Pump Up the Volume, Turn Up Their Minds! Improving Student Discussions

February 3, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

‘Everyone’s Here’ is Only the Beginning: Engaging Your Students Through Problem-based Learning

February 10, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Tech Savvy Teaching: Using Technology to Achieve Teaching and Learning Goals

February 17, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

To Test or Not To Test? Strategies for Evaluating Student Learning

February 24, 2011, 3:00-5:00 p.m.