Food for Thought is a lunch series that offers conversations with faculty and instructional staff on relavent teaching and learning topics at Amherst College. Previous and upcoming events are listed below.
Wednesday October 3, 2018 noon - 1:30. CHI Seminar Room, Frost Library.
Conversation during the Dean’s Retreat surfaced tensions around implementing strategies for building an inclusive classroom, supporting productive team or group work, and addressing oppressive behaviors. With the goal of helping you to gain a better understanding how you might shape your own pedagogical approach to build an inclusive classroom that fosters student learning and growth, Riley Caldwell-O’Keefe (CTL) will draw on Amherst specific examples and the literature about inclusive and culturally responsive teaching to facilitate a discussion of these tensions. We want to hear what has worked for you, what others might try and where you are wanting to grow and need more support and ideas.
Thursday October 18, 2018 1:15 - 2:45. CHI Think Tank, Frost Library.
It is well-documented that students learn more when they take responsibility for their own learning with faculty serving as experts on the side, who design effective learning activities, offer necessary expertise, and guide students back on a productive path when students hit a wall or go badly astray. But how do you create the conditions in a classroom to encourage students not only to accept that responsibility, but to step up, embrace it fully, and succeed? In this lunchtime conversation, Jyl Gentzler (Philosophy, CTL, Writing Center) will demonstrate some of the techniques that she uses.
Wednesday October 31, 2018 noon - 1:30. CHI Seminar Room, Frost Library.
It is not uncommon for faculty to design a course around a final group project, in which students work together to develop a complex representation and application of their learning (e.g., a group presentation, an art installation, a website). It is also not uncommon for faculty to experience challenges in supporting students’ abilities to successfully engage in collaborative group work while also producing a high quality group project. In this lunchtime conversation, Sarah Bunnell (CTL) will focus on the tensions that often exist between helping students learn how to navigate group dynamics in their quest to develop a collaborative product, and strategies for balancing these often competing goals for learning.
Feb. 22, 1:00-2:00 CHI Think Tank
We know that practicing Public Speaking can help a student become more confident. Often we avoid assigning an end of semester “oral presentation” for fear it will sound like a monotonous, boring book report. How do we dispel this fear and make public speaking a thought-provoking and vital part of our teaching?
Facilitated by Susan Daniels, Associate in Public Speaking, our panel consists of Sarah Olsen and Nick Horton, who will discuss the benefits of and creative ways they incorporated speaking into the syllabus and how to teach speaking skills and evaluate students’ performances.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 12:15-1:30: in the CHI Think Tank with Keffie Feldman (Mead), Robert Hayashi (American Studies), Sarah Olson (Classics), and Sam Alpert ’18.
There are myriad ways in which art and material culture can enhance curriculum. From helping students develop visual acuity and critical thinking to serving as illustrations of particular concepts or historical moments. We will identify the major areas where collections can be incorporated into curricula and the learning outcomes of teaching with museum collections. These concepts will be brought to light using concrete examples of curricular engagement and faculty testimonia from Mead classes.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 12:15-1:30: CHI ThinkTank w/ David Jones (Geology) and Tekla Harms (Geology).
During the 2016-17 academic year, Geology Department faculty met weekly to brainstorm on better embedding critical writing, quantitative, and scholarly skills across our curriculum, using the Geology we already teach in our courses as a vehicle to do so. Our overarching goal was to work on this as a team, so that our course changes would be systematic, providing opportunities for students to practice and grow these skills as they move through the geology curriculum.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 12:15-1:30 CHI Think Tank w/Hannah Holleman (SOCI), Rachel Levin (BIOL), Cassie Sanchez (Writing Center)
Breaking a large or complex assignment into its component parts allows students to master a set of skills before proceeding to the next task, which gives them multiple low-stakes opportunities for success and encourages independent learning. Scaffolding also allows for more robust feedback that can focus on higher order concerns as tasks become more complex. This workshop will draw on concrete examples to explore various ways to scaffold writing assignments, provide feedback, and manage challenges.