Effective teaching strategies demonstrated by top graduate student teachers

by Julie Dodd

Falcon Restrepo-Ramos receives the Calvin A. VanderWerf Award from Dean of the Graduate School Henry Frierson and Dr. Constance Shehan, chair of the selection committee. The VanderWerf Award is given to the top of the teaching award winners. Morgan Yacoe also received the VanderWerf Award. Photo by Julie Dodd

Promoting student involvement.

Connecting learning to important issues.

Assigning meaningful projects.

Establishing a supportive learning climate.

These were some of the effective teaching strategies employed by the graduate students who were selected to receive the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Teacher Awards for 2019.

As a member of the faculty committee that observes the graduate students nominated for this award, I could feel the energy of those really engaging instructors when I visited their classes. I admired the graduate students’ course design and class planning to create such good learning experiences for their students.

Structuring class activities to get students involved

In the classes I observed that were taught by award-winning graduate students, their students were actively involved. Here are three examples I observed.

The winners of the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Teaching Awards for 2019 and members of the selection committee. Photo by Eric Zamora

In a physiology lab, the students worked in teams to review the results of the physiology lab they had conducted independently online.

Talking with classmates in a small group helped them answer some of their own questions about the lab and prepared them to share their experiences and the questions they still had with the class. In addition, after talking in small groups, the students were more confident in speaking in class.

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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” 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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