FuSE Blog Post: Session 5

Posted: 08 31, 2015

Future Science Educator Blog Post: Session 5

By Kelsey Marie Gray, FuSE Member

This class started off with a bang. Literally. Todd Zakrajsek had us notice how our levels of attentiveness changed when he stood behind a podium saying words and when he moved around the room holding a balloon, poised to be popped, saying words. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we paid more attention when there was the threat of a balloon being popped. What was surprising was the concept that this exercise illustrated: fundamental attribution error. Common “classroom incivilities” as reported by faculty are often ascribed to students as being due to their inherent disposition rather than to something that is situational. In the balloon example, we experience how many students possess the ability and willingness to learn, it just needs to occur within a proper level of stimulation.

The remainder of the workshop employed techniques that were equally as engaging to demonstrate effective methods for creating a climate for learning in the classroom. This begins with establishing and MAINTAINING expectations at the start of courses. This may be accomplished by having an open discussion regarding student expectations followed by allowing five minutes for students to talk in groups about expectations they would like for the instructor to take into consideration. The remainder of the session consisted of brainstorming sessions interjected with real-life examples related to identifying “classroom incivilities” and how to address them, engaging in difficult dialogues, and managing distractions.


TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYg3sLcyLB8

Books: The New Science of Learning (with Terry Doyle) and Teaching for Learning: 101 Intentionally Designed Educational Activities to Put Students on the Path to Success (with Claire Major and Michael Harris)

Managing the Classroom

Todd Zakrajsek, PhD, Executive Director of the Academy of Educators in the UNC School of Medicine, UNC

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