Difficult Conversations: Report from CHEP

Members of the Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence partnered with the Academy of Teaching Excellence to host a packed session on facilitating difficult conversations in the classroom at last week’s Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy. The write-up below is a (very) partially-processed transcription of the session. For the key takeaways re: strategies, scroll down or click here :

After brief introductions we did a quick round robin: What is ONE word you associate with difficult conversations in the classroom? The answer:

Asked what brought us to the session produced an array of responses from a wide range of disciplines and fields:

In the Social Sciences we avoid these conversations but don’t acknowledge that we are avoiding them; We have them but not enough; need to reinvigorate commitment to having them. Social work is all about difficult conversations; Continue reading “Difficult Conversations: Report from CHEP”

Log Jam No More

Never mind why it’s been so long since I’ve posted (insert long whine here about being over-extended, distracted, and just plain tired….). It’s the first week of #OpenLearning18 and Mindful Learning week in GEDI. Causes to celebrate for sure. And as my planner helpfully notes, “Done is better than perfect.”  So……

While everyone is moving in and getting comfy with #OpenLearning18, I want to throw a couple of nuggets out there for the Contemporary Pedagogy (#GEDIVT) group: Continue reading “Log Jam No More”

Can’t Let it Go — Inclusive Pedagogy With #Gedivt

We are deep in the heart of the Contemporary Pedagogy Syllabus and last week’s session on Inclusive Pedagogy left me reeling — in a good way. Talking with a diverse group of people about how to cultivate inclusive and diverse classrooms is always interesting, and often quite challenging, but this session was especially noteworthy for the thoughtfulness and respect that carried us through the evening. We did not talk directly about some of the issues that usually come up in these sessions, but instead  learned about Prof. Christine Labuski’s classroom technique of “Universal Precautions” and let that framework shape the discussion that followed. Continue reading “Can’t Let it Go — Inclusive Pedagogy With #Gedivt”

Reflections on #OpenLearning17

How will your experience in #OpenLearning affect your teaching practice or scholarship? Why?

#OpenLearning17 has provided lots of inspiration for making my teaching practices more open and accessible. The course has also helped me better understand some of the choices I’ve made about the learning environment I want to create with my students.  I have three partially written posts about specific aspects of the course and have accepted the fact that I’m not going to finish them until after the semester is over.  For now, I want to throw out what I think are three of my main takeaways:

#1: What’s in a Name? I am going to be less concerned about definitions and more attentive to what works and why. At the beginning of the semester I thought I’d come away with a coherent working definition of Open Learning. But (sort of) watching the recent debates about the definition of “Open Pedagogy” has led me to think we should advocate for a catholic use of Open and not insist on one gold star definition that gets held up as the new orthodoxy. Continue reading “Reflections on #OpenLearning17”

Remembering – The First Decade

Beslan Memorial, Open Democracy

Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Russian Government in a case brought by survivors of the massacre of  students and faculty at School Number 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia.  On September 1, 2004, Chechen militants seized the school, fortified it with explosives and held more than a thousand people, including 777 children, hostage for three days. They terrorized their captives, executing several, and withholding water from those who remained. Continue reading “Remembering – The First Decade”

Contemporary Pedagogy at VT: A Conversation with Shelli Fowler

Orange Sneakers

Working with the Open Learning cMOOC  (#OpenLearning17) has given me the opportunity to re-connect with one of the most inspirational and talented educators I know. During her long tenure at Virginia Tech Dr. Shelli Fowler developed and taught a graduate course  called “Pedagogical Practices in Contemporary Contexts.”  A jewel in the crown of certificate programs in Transformative Graduate Education and Training the Future Professoriate, Contemporary Pedagogy brings together graduate students from across the university in a seminar devoted to developing a distinct teaching praxis. Shelli designed the course, which is known across campus as “GEDI” (the Graduate Education Development Institute) to help graduate students acquire the diverse and flexible skill sets they need to succeed and lead as teacher/scholar/professionals in the changing landscape of higher education. It works at multiple levels — as a professional development forum for early-career teachers, as an interdisciplinary discussion of the challenges and commonalities of engaging undergraduates at a Research I university, and as a site of critical engagement over the connections between the philosophical underpinnings and practical application of pedagogy (praxis). Continue reading “Contemporary Pedagogy at VT: A Conversation with Shelli Fowler”