The Feedback Loop: When Less is More, and When More is Less

by Johann Koehler, Legal Studies (Home Department: Jurisprudence & Social Policy) Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Writing rarely improves without feedback. But even the most carefully prepared feedback, if offered a certain way, may remain unheeded. Take, for example, a common course structure: students endeavor to produce a long, meticulously Continue Reading >>

Review and Revision

Be clear about what “review” and “revise” mean, and give your students in-class practice with essay drafts.

Working with Non-native-English-Speaking Writers

GSIs sometimes see student papers that are dense with linguistic errors or lack basic rhetorical structures. Here are some effective ways to address the problems while also protecting your time.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone: Fostering Higher-Order Learning by Not Answering Students’ Questions

by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.

Teaching Students ‘Street Smarts’ Necessary for Navigating Peer-Reviewed Literature

by Jeff Benca, Integrative Biology
During the in-class debate, we focused on the question “What caused earth’s greatest mass extinction?” … It was truly inspiring for me to hear both discussion sections of the class spend 1.5 hours actively … debating which arguments held most credence by analyzing the approaches of the papers, considering the expertise of the authors, and applying trends in the fossil record covered in previous lectures.

Elusive Allusions: Discovering Kafka in Coetzee

by Sarah Mangin, English
We spent a few minutes venting about our most memorable Kafkaesque ordeals, from S.A.T. testing nightmares to transcript requests … By cultivating a collaborative environment for thinking about literary allusiveness, our class found opportunities to make these references first familiar and then potent.

Engaging with the Thesis Statement: Developing Metacognitive Skills

by Jennifer Johnson, Linguistics (Home Department: Education)
I needed to develop in-class peer review and self review activities that assist students in exploring, understanding, and contesting feedback. … How do I help students develop metacognitive skills — in other words, reflect on their reflections?

Maximizing the Impact of GSI Feedback through Reflections on Writing

by Rebecca Elliott, Sociology
In deference to the time they put into writing their exams, I spend considerable time writing up my reactions. I provide substantive feedback in the form of questions and comments, in both marginal notes and in a narrative paragraph…[but] how could I ensure that my students read, reflected, and internalized my feedback in a way that would improve their skills and enhance their learning?