On Tuesday, I attended a panel discussion in Benson about the Boot Camp for Professors. Set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the Boot Camp for Professors is a week-long event where teachers can work on aspects of their teaching philosophy and approach. The TLC pays all the registration and travel expenses. A small town, Leadville, CO is the location, and is the highest town in the US. Why, you may ask, Craig, did you attend this panel? There are two reasons: one I’m a rookie teacher for LIB100; and 2. last summer, Jeff Lerner told me about this workshop after he found out librarians were getting faculty status. It is unclear whether Library Faculty can attend this workshop, but it sounds fabulous-especially for those whose primary work revolves around instruction.
The panel was made up of: Holly Brower (School of Business), Simone Caron (History), Jeff Lerner (TLC, History), and Erica Still (English). Each individual described a week in a dorm at Timberline Campus of Colorado Mountain College, and how hard they worked. They all worked in groups and had homework every night. Topics included deep learning, active learning, over teaching, and rubrics.
Some of Holly Brower ideas were:
1. Questions are the currency of teachers-use them to keep the class moving, emphasize a point, check for retention, or to promote discussion.
2. Evaluate whether you are under or over-teaching by not giving students enough guidance or too much direction.
3. Backward design your courses-ask what your students need to learn to do: ten, how will you know they can understand something at the end of the course, and how can you best help them learn how to do it during the course.
4. Limit lectures to 15 minutes and change your teaching method every 20 minutes.
5. Consider some form of daily accountability (quiz, 3-5 minute writing exercise, etc.)
6. Learn to love them- people are motivated by three things: fear, duty and love.
7. Use multiple methods to promote engaged teaching- 1 minute paper, teach your neighbor, directed paraphrasing, pre-class assignments, etc.
8. Use midterm evaluations
There were lots of other tips like play music before class, stop lecturing, being physically active while teaching helps learning and others. Everyone, without fail, said this camp was hard, but well worth the effort. Keep your eyes on the TLC for announcements about this year.