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Tuesday Teaching Tip (T3)

Tuesday Teaching Tip is an initiative facilitated by the TEP SIG Graduate Student Coordinators. A big thank you to Jeff Vomund and Huy Nguyen (2023-2024 Graduate Student Coordinators) for their work on this initiative. The 2024-2025 Graduate Student Coordinators, Huy Nguyen and Molly Taylor, are currently accepting T3 submissions. Be sure to follow the TEP SIG Graduate Student twitter account to stay up to date on T3 submissions 

Emphasize students' mastery goals in the classroom!

  1. A classroom culture that emphasizes mastery/learning goals is more effective in promoting student learning and growth than a classroom culture that emphasizes performance.
  2. One way to emphasize mastery over performance is to give students chances to revise assignments or retake quizzes. You can also weigh later versions more heavily. This shows students that you value their learning and growth over time, not their immediate success.
  3. To see more about this teaching tip, go to Boden, Zepeda, & Nokes-Malach, 2020.

Using pre-work to promote active learning and engagement!

  1. Pre-class reading response assignments with prompts that promote active and personal learning can help students better engage with course content.
  2. Prompts that encourage active and personal learning are in  six categories: (1) identifying the problem, (2) making connections, (3) interpreting evidence, (4) challenging assumptions, (5) applying knowledge, and (6) taking another point-of-view.
  3. To see more about this teaching tip, go to Tomasek (2009).

Promote tudents' self-regulated learning (SRL) through self-reflection!

  1. Engaging in self-regulated learning (SRL) can help students become active and motivated learners who are more self-aware and use effective strategies to improve their learning and understanding.
  2. One of many ways to promote students' self-evaluation skills within SRL is to build opportunities into your course for students to reflect on their work. Have students review their grade and your feedback while also reflecting on the strategies and approaches they used to complete the assignment. Finally, have them consider what they can do differently to succeed in the future.
  3. To learn more about this teaching tip and SRL, see Nguyen & Wolters (2023).

Manage digital distractions in the classroom!

  1. Digital distractions are a pervasive challenge in college classrooms. Rather than mandating a technology policy, college instructors should work collaboratively with their students to develop technology policies that identify appropriate and inappropriate use of electronic devices during class.
  2. For example, instructors and students may decide that cell phones should be put away during class time. As another example, instructors and students may agree that students can use laptops in class as long as they are staying on task. Developing technology policies collaboratively encourages students' reflection on their use of digital distractions and enhances students' feelings of autonomy and adherence to the policies.
  3. To see more suggestions for ways to reduce digital distraction use in the classroom, see Flanigan, Brady, Dai, & Ray (2023).

Provide effective feedback!

  1. Feedback is most effective when it is specific, includes next steps, avoids comparison to others, and is about the task and not the person
  2. Effective feedback to a writer working on paragraph structure might go something like this: "You have a clear topic sentence in this paragraph, but I am not clear on how the sentences that follow it really fit with the topic sentence. Go through your paragraph and check that each sentence applies to the overall topic.”
  3. To see more about this teaching tip, see Koenka & Anderman, 2019.

Promote students' self-regulated learning!

  1. Instructors can support students' self-regulated learning by providing opportunities to actively plan, monitor, manage, and reflect on their own learning processes.
  2. Instructors can scaffold students' learning processes by using intentional pauses and help prompts ("what" am I learning, "how" am I learning, "why" am I learning). Instructors can also build activities to reflect on students' motivation and emotion for the class, enabling them to develop strategies for improving engagement (great mid-semester activity).
  3. To see more about this, see Hensley et al. (2023).

Practice cognitive empathy!

  1. Instructors can be more responsive to diverse groups of students by practicing cognitive empathy toward their students; that is, by attempting to understand the context and interactions in a classroom from different students’ perspectives.
  2. The practice of cognitive empathy is an ongoing process in which teachers continually attempt to understand how students experience the classroom and then address any perspectival divergence which can cause miscommunication or lack of motivation.
  3. To learn more about teachers’ cognitive empathy and how it can benefit students see Warren, 2014.

Use just-in-yime Teaching (JITT) to check students' understanding before class, and adjust your lesson plans accordingly!

  1. Just-in-Time Teaching (JITT) is a technique that helps instructors be more responsive to students’ learning needs by assigning a pre-class activity and using students’ responses to tailor the class to students’ needs.
  2. To implement JITT, teachers and instructors can follow these steps:
    1. Assign a short activity or assignment (e.g., short response question) to be completed and submitted before class that probes for potential understanding or misunderstanding of concepts students are learning about. Make sure to give yourself sufficient time to review students’ work!
    2. Review students’ responses to identify areas where the class may need additional support. Teachers can also incorporate students’ responses into the upcoming lesson.
  3. To learn more about JITT, see Novak (2011).

Provide equitable feedback to support students!

  1.  Feedback can exacerbate inequities, specifically the feedback teachers give to Black and Latiné students which can have concerning motivational consequences. Black and Latiné students experience (a) less encouragement compared to their white counterparts, (b) a positive  feedback bias, and (c) more negative feedback.
  2. However, instructors can provide more motivationally-supportive feedback, by  (1) reducing  bias (i.e. developing critical racial and cultural consciousness; checking viewpoints - are you taking a color-evasive approach?) and (2) providing motivationally-supportive feedback (e.g. be specific and task focused; provide steps for improvement).
  3. To see more about this teaching tip, see Nicolai, Koenka, and Braxton (2023).

Support students in their identity exploration!

  1. Teaching that supports students’ identity exploration can improve student sense of belonging, achievement, motivation, and wellbeing.
  2. Identity exploration in relation to curricular materials can foster deep meaning. One useful framework is the PRESS model that includes four design principles: (a) promoting self-relevance; (b) triggering exploration; (c) facilitating a sense of safety; and (d) scaffolding exploratory actions.
  3.  To see more about this teaching tip, go to Kaplan, Sinai, and Flum (2014) or  Kaplan, Bridgelal, and Garner (2020)

Effectively wrap up your courses!

  1. How teachers end their courses can provide students with closure, reinforced what they learned throughout the semester, promote interest in course content, and foster student-teacher interactions.
  2. Teachers can meaningfully wrap up their courses through a variety of activities, including but not limited to:
    1. Revisiting course goals/objectives/essential questions;
    2. Having a summary/review session of course material (or turning this into a game for students);
    3. Having students reflect on their learning and development over the course of the semester;
    4. Celebrating students for their hard work and effort.
  3. For more ideas on ways to end a course, see Eggleston and Smith (2002).