Author: Jonathan Wade

Minimizing Disruptive Behaviors to Facilitate Student Learning

Minimizing disruptive behaviors to facilitate student learning by Jack Caldwell, John Hawes, and L. Scott Philyaw, PhD Effective classroom management is rarely part of our formal training as faculty members. Yet, we are still expected to respond to a variety of external pressures impacting campus climates across the nation. Whether a student is passively disinterested or actively disruptive, their behaviors can impact the learning experience of the entire class. The following tips are intended as a starting point to facilitate further conversation and consideration. In addition, we invite you to consult the CFC Educational Development team for further guidance by calling our main number, 828-227-7340.   Much disruptive behavior arises from students who feel alienated from the class. This can be minimized by creating a sense of community in the classroom. Know and use your students’ names. A professional classroom atmosphere also facilitates positive student learning. Model the behavior you expect from students.  For example, speak in a normal voice.  Listen to student’s questions and comments and respond respectfully. Have a contagious positive attitude.  Treat every day as a new opportunity for success in your classroom.  Don’t assume the worst of your students. Boredom can contribute to disruptions. If your lessons are unclear, disorganized, or not engaging, students may shift their attention elsewhere. Move around your classroom throughout the class period when you’re teaching and when students are doing...

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Faculty Earning and Learning Opportunity this Summer

Liberal Studies Program The Office of the Provost and the Liberal Studies Committee invite participants to apply for a summer faculty development opportunity to be held on Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11, 2018. WCU’s Liberal Studies Program engages in an annual assessment of its curriculum to determine how well the program is meeting its stated student learning objectives.  To this end, Goal 1.2 of WCU’s 2020 Vision articulates the broad objectives of the program as developing a student’s ability “to integrate information from a variety of contexts; to solve complex problems; to communicate effectively and responsibly; to practice civic engagement; and to clarify and act on purpose and values.” To help assess if the program is meeting its goals, the Liberal Studies Committee is asking for faculty volunteers to help score Liberal Studies student artifacts.  Over two days in July, all participants will attend a brief training in which they will receive instruction on interpreting the Liberal Studies rubrics and evaluating related student work.  Faculty assessors will then work in groups of two to score the student artifacts assigned to them. All participating faculty will receive a $400 stipend (in August paychecks) to compensate them for their time and effort; breakfast and lunch will be provided. If you are interested in assessment-related professional development and/or helping to strengthen WCU’s Liberal Studies program, please consider applying! Directions below....

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John Williams

Dr. John Williams, of WCU’s Forensic Anthropology programs, will be presenting two Science of Teaching and Learning sessions at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences based on his bone trauma class, Anthropology 401. The first will be a presentation workshop on “Innovative Teaching with Active Learning Methods – Implementation in Forensic Science Education,” and the second will be an oral presentation in a section entitled “Forensic Education Matters.” Dr. Williams has earned this great opportunity from the research he has gathered in his team-based directed classroom experiments in his bone trauma classes. Several years ago he became interested in active learning through bone trauma, specifically with bone fractures. Originally, these classes followed a straight lecture format, but Dr. Williams then developed an experiment involving deer bones that were used to demonstrate how various events, like fractures, could occur. With this came the want for specialized classes on bone trauma that other universities didn’t offer. From there, he decided to participate in the Coulter Faculty Commons annual Summer Institute of Teaching and Learning to further develop his practices. Dr. Williams evolved the course from simple activity-based to project-based learning, and refined his experiments, giving the students structure, but also enough flexibility to work on their own. He discussed the great “Ah Ha” moments that students would achieve through the project, and how he wanted all the students to have that...

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Improving your SAIs: Looking Ahead

Improving your SAIs: Looking Ahead The SAI—student assessment instrument—is integral to how we are evaluated here at Western. It needs little introduction. How can we look back on that SAI just handed to us by our chair or director, while looking ahead to a new term, with an eye toward making changes that produce stronger student ratings at the end of spring? Let’s look at how you might address weaknesses with a look at each of the five main areas of the standard SAI course form. Organization and Clarity “Faculty preparation” is the way towards stronger course organization and clarity. Some tips: Maximize Microsoft Outlook. Create a recurring “busy” period in your Outlook calendar (not during your student office hour), then begin prompting your peers and colleagues to send you an appointment invite through Outlook, rather than saying “yes” to every informal or hallway meeting request. Then use that “busy” block in Outlook to do your class prep. Quit Outlook. Yes, this may seem to contradict the above, but quitting the email altogether when doing the heavy lifting such as course prep can provide the focus you need. Your brain will thank you. The emails can wait. Paper, paper, Blackboard. The standard course form contains four questions that students respond to related to your organization and clarity, and each of them can be addressed with a lesson plan document...

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