Appreciative pedagogy, deep learning, reflective practice, technology-based teaching, and the important difference between delivering information and synthesizing information, are but a few of the subjects that will be covered during Concordia’s first annual Teaching and Learning Winter Festival.
Concordia’s Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning, Ollivier Dyens says the idea behind the festival is to create “momentum” around the subject of pedagogy.
“It’s about showing our colleagues that there is very interesting research being done right now on the process of learning, on what are the best techniques for students to learn, what’s to be avoided, what are the best things to do so that students can be engaged in the classroom,” he says. “There have been effective methods developed to address a lot of the issues faculty members are facing.”
The festival is spread over several weeks with the hope that it will encourage more sustained conversations about teaching and learning. “The idea behind the festival is to create something that’s engaging,” Dyens says. “Also, faculty that are interested in attending, but perhaps are unavailable for certain dates, will have more than one opportunity.”
Olivia Rovinescu, director of Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning Services, says the festival offers professors a valuable opportunity to discuss teaching and learning practices with their peers — particularly those outside of their own departments, and those whose own research deals directly with this subject.
“We have a lot of very, very talented people at Concordia who care about teaching, and who have particular expertise in teaching in higher education,” she says. “Even if people don’t come to every workshop, this is an opportunity for them to touch base with these speakers and with one another,” she says.
Members of Concordia’s administration and graduate students are also encouraged to register for the workshops, Rovinescu says, adding that they are also open to professors from other universities and Cegeps in the city.
The festival kicks off on February 1 with a workshop hosted by celebrated pedagogical innovator Eric Mazur, a physics professor at Harvard University. Mazur will examine “how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing information greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom.”
Mazur will also host a workshop later that day on peer instruction, which encourages student interaction during lectures to improve conceptual understanding. He first experimented with this innovative technique back in the early 1990s.
“Dr. Mazur is an extraordinary teacher and professor, and we’re really lucky to have him,” says Professor Philippe Caignon, chair of Concordia’s Département d’études françaises and the head of the festival’s organizing committee.
Also presenting workshops during that first day are some of Concordia’s own pedagogy stars.
• Arshad Ahmad: Promoting Deep Learning
• Rosemary Reilly: Appreciative Pedagogy
• Ronald Smith: Reflective Practice: Learning from our Past
• Saul Carliner: E-Learning? Will I Really Be Replaced by a Computer? And other Myths about Technology-based Teaching
• Nancy Acemian: No Digital Technology! So How Do I Keep My Students’ Attention?
Four more days of workshops are scheduled on Fridays over the next month:
• February 8: Jordan Lebel: Connecting with Students. Diane Demers: Diversity in the Classroom
• Feburary 15: James Conklin: How to Facilitate Group Discussions
• March 1: David Tabakow: Understanding Generation Me
• March 8: Marc Lafrance: Critical Thinking
Finally, a two-day workshop hosted by Laval professors Serge Talbot and Claude Savard on March 8 and 9 considers the use of educational cards as “an instrument to develop, enrich and refine one’s conception of teaching and learning.” This is the only workshop that is open exclusively to members of Concordia’s faculty.
• Centre for Teaching and Learning Services
• Concordia Teaching and Learning Winter Festival
• Office of the Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning