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Download Conversation #12

Alice Horning

A conversation with Dr. Alice S. Horning of Oakland University on teaching, learning, and reading.

We really need to help students with reading in every subject. It's not just for English teachers; it's not just writing teachers; it's not just in composition classes. It's in history and sociology and even in math. Students need to be better readers.

Links for this episode:

  • Reading Across the Curriculum by Alice S. Horning
  • To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence can be purchased or downloaded free from the NEA
  • Reading Between the Lines: What the ACT Reveals about College Readiness in Reading can be downloaded free from ACT

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Download Conversation #11

Regina Barreca

A conversation with Dr. Regina Barreca of University of Connecticut on teaching, learning, and humor.

You can't use humor to be liked. You have to use it to make a point. Especially for women, too often our sense of self-esteem or even, in a professional setting, our sense of accomplishment comes from, you know, do they like me? And it can't work that way. Teaching certainly can't function that way. It has to be: did I make this point effectively? Did they get it? And that's very different than being liked.

Links for this episode:

Attentive readers may have noticed some changes to this space recently. We started this blog to promote our podcast, Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else. We used the blog as a handy way to index episodes and provide additional content such as pictures and links, but the main focus remained on the audio conversations.

Then, in the fall semester of 2009, we decided that we here at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching might have more to say on a variety of subjects, and that a blog might be the best way to do it. Thus was born CAT Food (for thought). We could have established it as an entirely separate creature from the podcast, but I thought it made more sense to simply expand the scope of our existing blog rather than maintain two different blogs going forward.

So, essentially, our podcast blog got bigger and changed its name. Teaching, Learning, and Everything Else is still chugging along, but now it's a topic which will be presented alongside such other topics as Blackboard Bits, Bytes, and Nibbles and Sociable Feast. It's my hope that this model best serves our primary readership, namely faculty in higher education. In particular we are dedicated to our faculty here at Xavier, but we believe much of this content may be of general interest to teachers everywhere.

If you were subscribing to the podcast in a feed reader, you probably didn't notice anything different except that the name of the feed may have changed. Now you know why. If you'd like to continue to focus on the podcast only, you needn't do anything. We now are publishing to separate feeds: one for just the podcast, and another that encompasses all the blog topics, including the podcast.

You'll find all the feed options listed in the sidebar from our main page. And if you don't have any idea what a "feed reader" is, don't worry. There's also an option to subscribe by e-mail.

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Download Conversation #10

Josh Aronson

A conversation with Dr. Josh Aronson of New York University on teaching, learning, and stereotype threat.

People perform better when they don't feel their intelligence is being evaluated. So in a very broad way, if you can create an environment that takes the heat off of intelligence — and I think different teachers do this in a variety of ways — so if they say, look, I'm here to evaluate not how smart you are, but what I have been able to teach you... Now the onus is on me. Now the bell curve isn't about you. I am being put on a bell curve as your teacher. So you can sort of shift the emphasis from evaluation of your intelligence to evaluation of my ability to teach you. I've had teachers come to me and tell me that when they [do this] the kids do much better, and they aren't vomiting on their exam pages anymore.

Links referenced in this episode:

  • "Stereotypes and the Fragility of Academic Competence, Motivation, and Self-Concept" by Joshua Aronson and Claude M. Steele. From Handbook of Competence and Motivation, 2005. [PDF courtesy of the author]

...continue reading "Conversation #10: Stereotype Threat"

Download Conversation #9

Mano Singham

A conversation with Dr. Mano Singham of Case Western Reserve University on teaching, learning, and the authoritarian syllabus.

That element of choice and trust between the teacher and the student I think are important aspects of creating a good learning environment, and I think the authoritarian syllabus tends to work against it. Authoritarian syllabuses can achieve certain things. You can get people to do things. But you can't get them to want to learn. That was my epiphany, if you like.

Links referenced in this episode:

  • Death to the Syllabus! by Mano Singham in Liberal Education, Fall 2007
  • "Moving away from the authoritarian classroom" by Mano Singham. Change, May/June 2005, pp. 51–57. [PDF courtesy of the author]
  • "How my course syllabus is created" by Mano Singham. [PDF courtesy of the author]
  • Mano Singham's Web Journal: Thoughts on science, history and philosophy of science, religion, politics, the media, education, learning, books, and films.

We're proud to announce this podcast is a finalist for a POD Network innovation award. We hope to see you at the conference.

Download Conversation #8

Arthur Zajonc

A conversation with Dr. Arthur Zajonc of Amherst College on teaching, learning, and contemplative inquiry.

While we may begin with the "pause that refreshes," if we leave it only at that then it's seen only as a break from learning. I'm really keen on it being seen also as a means of learning. That is to say, we school our attention — that's long been a part of the contemplative traditions, the deepening and stabilizing of attention — then, if we can bring that deepened and stabilized attention to the work at hand, it's going to be far more productive. And in addition, if one can take up a practice such as this contemplative inquiry practice, we add to that an enhanced learning capacity. So not only attention is schooled but also a new modality of inquiry is also offered to the student.

Links referenced in this episode:

A tip of the hat to the good folks at TalkShoe who helped us with some technical problems.

...continue reading "Conversation #8: Contemplative Inquiry"

Download Conversation #7

Eszter Hargittai

A conversation with Dr. Eszter Hargittai of Northwestern University on teaching, learning, and digital inequalities.

The idea behind introducing the term digital inequality... is that it's really a spectrum of differences even after people go online. So even once people get connected, it's wrong to think of them as all equally accessing all that the internet has to offer, because people will do so in very different ways and in different contexts and with different implications for what benefits they can reap from their access and use.

Links referenced in this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #7: Digital Inequalities"

Download Conversation #6

Ray Barnhardt

Native ways of knowing have been documented now over the last dozen years or so in ways that teachers can recognize and acknowledge in their teaching and utilize as strengths in the classroom.... So when you're teaching science, you use the traditional knowledge, that people have developed over millennia to survive in a very harsh environment, to demonstrate that science is something that's practiced every day in the community. And you can find situations in the community where you can demonstrate the subject matter that would otherwise be taught from a textbook, and that's called for in the state science standards, but starting with something that's there in the community that students can relate to. And that has been one of the few if not the only approach that has made a significant difference for native students, to capitalize on their strengths, rather than punish them for their differences.

A conversation with Dr. Ray Barnhardt of University of Alaska Fairbanks on teaching and learning across cultures.

Links referenced in this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #6: Across Cultures"

Download Conversation #5

Tracy Zinn

I tell my students that one of my goals for every class that I have is that I want them to be uncomfortable at times. I say that if they're comfortable with everything we've discussed and it doesn't sound new to them or unusual then they're not learning in the class, and that in order to grow and develop we have to have some growing pains, and so we have to have some discussions that push our boundaries a little bit, that make us a little bit uncomfortable... Thinking sometimes hurts.

A conversation with Dr. Tracy Zinn of James Madison University about teaching, learning and classroom discussion.

Links referenced in this episode:

  • Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos
  • QQTP: Connor-Greene, P. A. (2005). Fostering meaningful classroom discussion: Student-generated questions, quotations, and talking points. Teaching of Psychology, 32(3), 173-175. [order]
  • Types of Questions Based on Bloom's Taxonomy (from Honolulu Community College's Faculty Guidebook)

...continue reading "Conversation #5: Classroom Discussion"

William Buskist

"It's just so much fun to live on the edge. And I think that's what you do as a teacher. If you take it seriously and you're excited about it and you want your students to do well, it is living on the edge."

A conversation with Dr. William Buskist of Auburn University about master teachers.

Download Conversation #4

Links referenced in this episode:

...continue reading "Conversation #4: Master Teachers"