Reflections and Lessons Learned: Teaching Teacher Candidates

Drawing from my experience as a professor working with graduate students in the School of Education, I have created a list of strategies for teaching in higher education here. While this list is not exhaustive, it does outline some key components of teaching and learning in higher education that have worked well for me. I hope that the list is useful to others as we support our students on their academic and professional trajectories. (Click on blog title to continue reading)

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Making Wikipedia Better – One Health Page at a Time

It has been a few years since we first met Lane Rasberry, a local Wikipedian with an interest in engaging Wikipedia editors. Lane reached out to Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program Director/Chair, Dr. Jill Horbacewicz, looking for the opportunity to engage our students and training them in the art of sharing important health information with the millions of viewers who turn to Wikipedia for health information. Not long after, Lane, Jill, and I found the perfect venue for introducing Wikipedia to Touro (Manhattan) DPT students. A class called Education, which I taught, was already part of the curriculum. The class objectives emphasize educating patients, clients, caregivers and the general public about health information that can be used to promote optimal function and enhance wellness. We could not have planned a better match, and after several discussion the first Touro DPT Wikipedia Editathon was planned. (Click on blog title to continue reading)

Learning to Reflect, Developing Reflexive Praxis

Professional educators build their own praxis, i.e. their own theory of practice. Through reflection on their own teaching and learning, they weave theory and practice together and create the fabric of their own cultural practice of teaching and learning. Good educators know how to practice theory and theorize practice, they care about human growth, they teach for students’ learning to lead to development. (Click on blog post title to continue reading)

Principles of Universal Design for Learning

Principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) should guide the development of classroom teaching strategies because these research-based principals democratize opportunities to learn difficult or rigorous content. The research and conceptual basis for UDL comes from neuroscience documenting the role of three interrelated neural networks in the brain related to recognition, strategy and affect. UDL ensures that learning is accessible to students who need a variety of ways to engage with the lesson and demonstrate what they have learned. It challenges teachers to re-conceive their role as facilitators of learning, rather than transmitters of knowledge, and to harness the power of technology to remove barriers, create access to curriculum and provide rich educational opportunities. Scholars in the field have argued that the the task for educators is to understand how students learn and use the technology available in this digital age to provide selected supports where they are needed and position the challenge appropriately for each learner. (Click blog post title to continue reading)

An Exploration of Learning and Teaching in 3D Immersive Environments: Transcending Boundaries, Immersive Technology Trends

It started with Minecraft and my son. His fascination and hours of focus on and in Minecraft, paying little attention to all the lovingly displayed books on his bedroom bookshelf drove me to shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. Realizing that I would not win this particular battle, I decided to join him on his Minecraft, Mario and Pokémon forays. His total focus, relentless research into different winning or creation strategies, and astonishingly deft manipulation of objects in 3D environments, created an increasing fascination of these gaming technologies, nascent virtual spaces, open simulation environments and their possible future impact on institutions of learning, teachers, and learners. (Click on blog title to continue reading)

Find Your Teaching Zone

This video is a brief description of Lev Vygotsky’s concept known as the Zone of Proximal Development, an extremely useful idea to improve your classroom performance. Thanks to Rob Wass and Clinton Golding for their great article on the topic, “Sharpening a tool for teaching: the zone of proximal development,” Teaching in Higher Education 19:6 (2014), 671-684. (Click blog post title to continue reading)

The Growth Mindset: Teaching Students How to Learn

It was shortly after finals when I received a call from Sarah.* No, she wasn’t inquiring about her final grade. Rather, she wanted me to send her the short video I had shown on the first day of class that semester—a video about the growth mindset. “Why didn’t I know about this sooner?” Sarah asked. “I feel like this should be shown in all schools,” she said. That’s a great question, I thought. (Click blog title to continue reading)

Examinations as Practical Experience

For centuries, courses in the humanities and social sciences have culminated with handwritten tests. In addition to providing a basis for evaluation of students’ performance, these exams provided some practical experience in writing memos for employment. Many jobs require written documentation or evaluation, and a student who did well in essay tests would be better positioned for success in many forms of employment. The invention of personal computers dramatically changed business practices. Very few businesses still rely on handwritten memos. Most businesses record information in digital form. Yet at Touro written exams continue to be used in most courses in the humanities and social sciences. These exams train students in an outdated work medium that no longer corresponds to business practices. (Click on blog title to continue reading)

Focus on the Message, Not the Messenger

Stage fright is a universal phenomenon. Almost everyone has had their own experience with stage fright. Touro Communication instructors have many anecdotes collected over the years. Each instructor has her way of addressing stage fright in class. They will tell you what the business world knows that fear of speaking in public remains the number one stumbling block for professional success. (Click on blog title to continue reading)