Archive for August, 2013

Why Don’t You Just Speak Up? Engagement & Discussion Ideas from an Introverted Teacher

As we immerse ourselves in finalizing our Fall 2013 syllabi and lesson plans, consider some of the strategies discussed in this post. Often we need specific tools and strategies to generate rich and critical discussion, and here you will find some tried and true suggestions. Please share your own strategies in the comments section!


by Kristin L. Fitzsimmons (MFA, UMinn)


When undergraduates enter university classrooms, they’re coming from various educational backgrounds and experiences. They will all have different expectations of what or who an instructor should be, just as you might have a certain idea of the ideal student. That idealized student probably speaks up when we ask a question, offers insightful comments, and prepares for class at home. Students might expect that as ideal instructors we always have the answers and never feel awkward or unconfident. For most of us, neither ideal is something we experience on a daily basis. When thinking about classroom engagement – participation and discussion, it’s hard to balance how much a teacher leans on her students and how much they lean on her. Too much weight on either side can throw everything off balance, especially when your class, like most classes, is a mixture of talkers and…

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Before Reading or Watching Videos, Students Should Experiment First

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A new Stanford study shows that students learn better when first exploring an unfamiliar idea or concept on their own, rather than reading a text or watching a video first.

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