June 26, 2008

Questions to Consider for a Multicultural Classroom

One of the most important and challenging tasks for an instructor or faculty member is to create an inclusive classroom. Shari Saunders and Diana Kardia from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching from the University of Michigan have made some excellent suggestions for creating such a classroom.

Areas to consider include:

  • Course content
  • Your prior assumptions
  • Your planning of class sessions
  • Your knowledge about the diverse backgrounds of your students, and
  • You decisions, comments, and behaviors

In choosing course content, the authors (Saunders & Kardia, 2004) recommend considering “Whose voices, perspectives, and scholarship are being represented?” (¶ 5), including “as much as possible, materials written or created by people of different backgrounds and/or perspectives” (¶5) and recognizing “How are the perspectives and experiences of various groups being represented?” (¶5).

By reflecting on your assumptions, you have an opportunity to consider how these assumptions might become evident in the classroom. You can then respond accordingly. When planning your classes, you might consider accommodations, cultural reference points, instructional strategies, and controversial topics among others (Saunders & Kardia, 2004). Clearly, getting to know your students and their backgrounds allows you to make educated decisions, comments and behaviors in responding to criticism, student identities, conflict, and inequity.

You can review the entire report here: http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/P3_1.html

Other resources include:

Tips for Teachers from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University


Diversity Web at AACU


Kaplan, M. & Miller, A. T. (Eds.) (2007). Scholarship of Multicultural Teaching and Learning.. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 111. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Don't forget to check out our library at the Center for other resources


June 25, 2008

New Name for Center

The Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology now has a new name, the Center for Teaching and Learning. We are still in the same office, and still offer much of the same services to faculty, staff and graduate students. More details about changes at the Center will be forthcoming. Any questions and/or comments are welcome.

Our office still is University Hall 201. Our phone number is: 372-6898. Our e-mail address is: ctlt@bgsu.edu. Drop-in, give us a call or send us a message.

Please take a look at our new logo:

June 19, 2008

Classroom Assessment Project Cycle

How do you decide how you will assess your students and their learning? Angelo and Cross (1993), suggest a Classroom Assessment Project Cycle. In Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, they outline a three-phase, three-step process by which you can design such a cycle.

Phase I Planning a Classroom Assessment Project
  1. Choosing the class in which to carry out the Classroom Assessment Project
  2. Focusing on an “assessable question” about student learning
  3. Designing a Classroom Assessment Project to answer that “assessable question”

Phase II Implementing the Classroom Assessment Project

  1. Teaching the “target” lesson related to the question being assessed
  2. Assessing learning by collecting feedback on that assessable question
  3. Analyzing the feedback and turning data into usable information

Phase III Responding to the results of the Classroom Assessment

  1. Interpreting the results and formulating an appropriate response to improve learning
  2. Communicating the results to students and trying out the response
  3. Evaluating the Classroom Assessment Project’s effect(s) on teaching and learning (p. 34)

Such a cycle is a good starting point, but if you are looking for more specific and innovative ways to assess student learning, Angelo and Cross (1993) provide fifty specific ways of assessing everything from prior knowledge and skills, to critical thinking, to learner reactions to teachers and teaching. Their book is philosophically sound, practically applicable, and available at a library near you. If you’ve never read it or haven’t read it in a while, it’s worth skimming.

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

You can check this book out from the CTL Library:

**The Center for Teaching and Learning will conduct two related workshops this Summer**
Identifying Your Teaching Goals Using the TGI
July 15, 1:00pm-1:45pm
August 6, 10:15am-11:00am

Formative Assessment Using CATs
July 16, 1:00pm-2:00pm
August 6, 11:00am-12:00pm

You can visit the website for more information:

Call to reserve your location at 372-6898

Resources on the Web:
Angelo and Cross, from their book:

Classroom Assessment Techniques:

PowerPoint on Classroom Assessment using Angelo and Cross:

June 5, 2008

Tips for TA's

All you have to do is ask a second-year Teaching Assistant or Graduate Assistant who has taught, and they could provide plenty to say about how daunting teaching can be. There are issues of how to teach, what to teach, what to assign, how to write a good syllabus, etc. The list could go on. 
We are trying to relieve some of the anxiety that many TA's may have with our resources for tips. They can all be useful for incoming and returning TA's.

Below are some online resources, which could be extremely helpful for any new TA.

The Center for Instructional Innovation and Teaching Learning Academy at Western Washington University  have posted web pages which help writing a syllabus:

The Teaching Center at Washington University in St. Louis provides tips for faculty teaching for the first time:

The Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have a list of practical tips that any TA could use:

What are some of your suggestions? Have any of these resources worked for you?... Click on the COMMENTS link below to get started!