Efforts to Improve Teaching
Since joining the faculty at BUSPH full time four years ago I have renewed my interest in learning more about the methodology, techniques, and technology needed to improve my abilities to design and deliver an effective public health curriculum. I have been assisted in this effort by several school wide initiatives developed by Rob Schadt, my co-facilitator in the T-5 program. Rob’s initiatives that I have participated in include a book club in which a small group of interested faculty read and discuss books on teaching. So far we have read three books the first by Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do; and another by Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, the third, The Art of Changing the Brain, Enriching the Practice of Teaching by exploring the biology of learning by James Zull. I attend the monthly teaching seminars that Rob organizes for the school.
In March 2009 I presented at a University wide conference on teaching excellence organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence.
I attended the New England Faculty Development Conference in Worcester in November 2009. I conducted a session for the conference with Rob Schadt on Becoming a Reflective Practitioner Using E-portfolios that received universally outstanding evaluations.
I also attended several sessions including the keynote session that was conducted by Stephen Brookfield. It was an excellent session in which I learned about the Critical Incident Questionnaire that he has developed and employs regularly to test his assumptions on what works and what doesn't work in the class room. The CIQ is helpful in telling him what his students havfe learned as learners. He uses it in small and very large classes.
Dr. Brookfield talked about several techniques including the chalk talk which he uses to replace reporting out in group work. For the Chalk Talk students are asked to bring one question from their group for subsequent discussion. Then all the students can respond in writing to the questions and responses.
Newsprint Dialouges function in a similar way using flip charts with on question and related responses on each chart. In handling questions like "What do you think?" he often provides three responses to the question- one of which is what he thinks. Then he gets students to discuss the different responses. In this way he doesn't cut off discussion by providing "his answer". Many of his materials including the CIQ are available on his website stephenbrookfield.com.