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Teach for tomorrow: Concordia's Winterfest 2020 kicks off January 24

The annual pedagogical panel-discussion series is open to all Concordia faculty
December 11, 2019
By John Bentley


John Bentley is senior instructional developer at Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.

For the eighth consecutive year, Concordia’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is hosting Winterfest. The eight-part panel-discussion series is designed to assist faculty with knowledge and resources to improve their teaching practice.

This year’s theme, Leadership and Learning: Ready, Steady, Teach for Tomorrow, delves into innovation in academia. It runs from January 24 to February 14.

Participants will hear from faculty who have reflected on opportunities, strategies and methods of innovating and who have put them into practice. They’ll also hear from those who’ve contributed to furthering the development of teaching and pedagogy in their departments and faculties.

Winterfest organizers recognize that Concordia faculty assume considerable responsibility in helping students embrace a path of intellectual growth and personal transformation.

While traditional approaches to the classroom centre on academic rigour, next-generation higher education learning welcomes opportunities for effective development and immersive experiential learning. Winterfest 2020 aims to help support these efforts.

Topics on this year’s program range from sharing innovative pedagogies across disciplines to decolonizing teaching.

‘Being innovative is about finding solutions’

Winterfest panelists include Linda Dyer, professor in the Department of Management, and Lorraine Oades, vice-president of professional development at CUPFA​ and part-time faculty member in the Department of Studio Arts.

“In part, being innovative is about finding solutions. It is so important to create a rich learning environment that helps students build durable skills that they can use and develop throughout their lifetime,” Oades says.

“It’s also about staying relevant. Knowledge doesn’t stand still. It can take a considerable amount of time and energy just to keep up to date when teaching. And, that’s where the CTL comes in. They don’t provide one-size-fits-all answers. They work with faculty by suggesting useful techniques and through listening and dialogue.”

While the idea of getting started can be daunting, Dyer encourages faculty to start with baby steps. “Try an innovative technique on a small scale — just in one class perhaps. Let students know that this is new for you,” she says.

“If the innovation works, great! You can go bigger later in the term or the following year. If it doesn’t work, no great problem, it was only one week. I’ve found that students are kind and appreciative that you are willing to innovate.”

Register for
Winterfest 2020, which runs from January 24 to February 14, to learn best practices in bringing innovation to the practice of teaching.

Learn more about the Centre for Teaching and Learning, its services and resources available throughout the year.


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