Community Standards: Five Ways to Join the Conversation
- Offer your take on the anchor texts. So you’ve read the anchor texts — bully for you! Tell us what you think the author is really getting at, perhaps another way of looking at the topic to help round out our discussion.
- Connect to what’s happening in your classroom. One of our main goals is to use this space to share our classroom experiences — all of them. This way, we can we can identify trends and figure out how to address them, together. We want to hear your successes, yes, but we also want to hear what didn’t quite work (yet), or what worked with one class but not another. We want to hear about experiments, flukes, one-offs, struggles, and mistakes, too; we want to celebrate your triumphs with you and help you puzzle through the things that keep you up at night.
- Ask questions. We’re all teachers here, so I don’t need to belabor how important it is to ask questions, but I will because that’s what teachers do. Hans-Georg Gadamer writes, “The essence of the question is the opening up, and keeping open, of possibilities.” Good questions are better than easy answers; they are places of possibility that help us learn and grow.
- Connect to outside texts that others might find useful. We know you know a lot, you know? Help us grow our reading lists!
- Share posts, give kudos, and invite colleagues to join in. Our community of practice is multi-modal, incorporating face-to-face discussions and electronic exploration of ideas. Not everyone is comfortable in every format, but we can create synergy by encouraging each other to engage.
Also, Not Instead Of: Providing Students Opportunities for Alternative Modes of Assessment
The literature classes we teach in the English department have the student learning outcome that students successfully completing our courses will be able to “Effectively communicate analytical arguments and comprehension of course content through responses to, interpretations of, and arguments about [insert course focus here] literature in essays, written exams, class discussion, and other methods… Read more
Principles of Community: 5 Thoughts on How to Build Safe, Inclusive, Engaging Spaces for Students
Community has to be one of my favorite words. It’s a word that has been steeped in a strictly religious context for me for so many years, yet the idea of community, belonging to a socially connected root system, has also been life saving. Communities are where I found healing from trauma, where I found… Read more
Effective Discussions and Directions in Online Spaces
By Tina Stavropoulos, Janelle Arafiles, and Stefanie Tate As we enter our “new normal” with increasing online and hybrid offerings, many of us are rethinking how we interact with students and how we set up our courses. For many, pre-Covid teaching was exclusively done in the face-to-face format, but now all of us have experience… Read more
Supporting Students Outside the Classroom: One Radical Educator’s Thoughts
By Robert Hyers When I think about my students’ struggles, the ones they share both in my office and in their class writing, it saddens and angers me. I have had students share memories of living in the family van for periods as a child, adult students living out of their cars before attending college,… Read more
Understanding the Characteristics and Specific Needs of Adult Learners
For decades, scholars have emphasized the vital interconnection between education and democracy. Political Science professor, Richard Guarasci (2018) calls the United States’ college system an “anchor” of democratic values and initiatives, where learning is a critical component for stability and engagement. Cultural critic and professor Henry Giroux (2019) calls on higher education to produce “civic… Read more
First Impressions: Helping Students to Feel Welcome and Engaged on Day 1
By Kathleen Sell In her book The Spark of Learning, Sarah Cavanagh writes, “On the first few days of class students will be forming their impressions of you, and this impression may be more important than much of what you do later” (qtd. in Lang). James Lang, in his article for The Chronicle of Higher… Read more
￼On Turtles and Teaching
As medical doctors must be up to date on the latest treatments, we also need to stay thoughtful, open, and interested in what we can learn about how adults learn and in what data and student experience shows us.
Co-Creating In the Classroom
By Wendy Silva, Dr. Audrey Holod, and Dr. Bryan Keene Many of us probably did not know we wanted to be college professors when we began our varying college journeys, and we would venture to say that some of us didn’t even know we wanted to teach, in any capacity. Unlike K-12 teachers that often… Read more
Rethinking How Students Meet Course Outcomes – Part 2
Ungrading: What It Is and What It Does Susan D. Blum, editor of Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), describes ungrading as a movement, part of “an effort to make education more genuine, authentic, effective, engaging, and meaningful” (3). Sounds great, right? But what exactly is it? It’s not lost… Read more
Rethinking How Students Meet Course Outcomes – Part 1
In our January community of practice, our colleagues gave us so much to think about in terms of grading for equity that here we are, still thinking about it. In fact, we take as a starting point an idea that Kathleen highlighted at the end of her post: “All too often our grading practices…‘inadvertently [pull]… Read more