Building Retrieval into Class time

Recently, the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast featured the topic “The Science of Retrieval Practice”,, giving the statistics behind the benefit of students practicing recall.  In short, even though students may not always feel like they are getting a benefit, practicing memory recall helps at test time.

As instructors, we can help with this by building time into class to do retrieval practice.  Any time that new material is presented, repetition helps students to build long term memory.  Using a retrieval practice during the class can help with that.  This can be a quiz (for no marks), or a game, such as Jeopardy or Kahoot, breaking up the day with something fun can be worthwhile and bring a benefit to students at the same time.

Students may feel some frustration at trying to recall material they’ve just learned, but the science is there.  If you listen to the podcast, the benefits show during exams even when students struggled to recall in class.

Workshop Wednesdays

Mark your calendars, PACE will be holding 8 professional development sessions during lunch on the first Wednesday of the month for February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November.  This will be a great opportunity to connect and network with fellow PACE instructors, while hearing from speakers on topics of interest to our instructor pool.

The first session will be Wednesday February 7, with Ian Fraser, U of W Library Services, giving an overview of APA.  APA is the default writing system for PACE, and Ian will give instructors an overview of APA citation system so that everyone is familiar with the standards and requirements that students are asked to meet.

Further topics will follow each month on the first Wednesday.  Watch for an Eventbright email to RSVP and confirm a spot.

Some Tips To Start 2019

Happy New Year, and welcome to the start of another great year of programming at PACE.

Over the holiday break I had an opportunity to catch up on some reading, in particular this article that was shared with me by one of our instructors:

It has some great tips and reminders for instructors at all levels of experience. In particular, three stood out for me:

  1. Teach from the heart
  2. Practice vulnerability without sacrificing credibility
  3. Avoid using the same approach for everyone

Teaching from the heart, teaching with passion, how ever you phrase it, is often cited by students as a reason why they enjoy particular courses.  Having an enthusiasm for the topic and the group helps keep students engaged, which helps with learning.

Admitting vulnerability is about not being perfect.  We are all human, and we don’t know everything.  It’s okay to tell the class, on occasion, that you don’t know the answer to something, or that you’ve misspoken – but find the right answer after!

Varying your approach is a key part of teaching.  Not everyone is going to learn the same way, have a variety of teaching methods in your day.  Use different examples.  Try to incorporate something for everyone (visual, auditory, tactile, note taking, etc.)

Check out the article for more tips and examples of how to make your teaching more impactful.