4 teaching strategies for college instructors — context, optimism, preparation and engagement

by Julie Dodd

auditorium class

COPE Strategies can help teachers as they begin new academic year.

The start of the school year provides the opportunity for teachers and students to consider the big picture of teaching and learning before getting caught up in the week-by-week view of readings, quizzes and assignments.

Scott Newstok’s “How to Think Like Shakespeare” in The Chronicle of Higher Education offers a call to action for the Class of 2020 (and for all college students) to take advantage of the learning enterprise to realize the value of gaining knowledge, to engage in critical thinking, and to seek collaborative environments.

Newstok’s essay, although directed at college students, provides a model for college teachers of how to take lofty student learning outcomes and design classes and assignments to enable students to reach those outcomes.

In speaking at the orientation for new teaching assistants at the University of Florida, I wanted to help those 350+ new instructors consider some big concepts that could help them develop their teaching outlook.

I talked with them about what I call the COPE Strategies to help develop a teaching approach.

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Knowing your students can help you be a more effective teacher

by Julie Dodd

nyt_cover_wAn important part of developing an effective undergraduate course is knowing your students.

Why are students taking your course?
Is this a required course? Is the course a prerequisite for another course students want or need to take?

What academic background are students bringing into your course?
What courses have they had at the college level before taking your course? What courses did they have in high school? And we, as college teachers, need to be aware that every student — even if they have the same course on their high school or community college transcript — has not had the same learning experience.

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