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CEHHS Launches Teaching-Time Out Podcast

Are you an educator looking for professional, evidence-based information to enhance your career?

Join Jed Blanton for this series by educators for educators. In just the time it takes for a cup of coffee, learn how you can navigate the challenges and opportunities presented during the academic year.

About Teaching Time-Out from Jedediah Blanton

Welcome to Teaching Time-Out.

I am Dr. Jedediah Blanton and I am glad you are taking a quick time out to think about teaching. I am on the faculty at the University of Tennessee and currently serve as the director of Teaching Development for the College of Education, Health & Human Sciences.

Jed Blanton

This podcast will be a way for me to chat about some of the impactful teaching practices that I’ve learned from great colleagues and through readings that have been shared with me.

In no way am I an expert nor do I think of myself as any sort of accomplished teacher – in fact, it’s probably my epic failures over the years that have best equipped me with the awareness that I need to pause and think thoroughly about how to evolve and enhance my teaching practice.

In each episode, I will share summaries of evidence that positively impact a classroom along with a set of practical instructions that you can use to sharpen your teaching practice. These teaching time-outs will be short, practical activities or reflections, based on interesting readings that have made me pause and think or re-think something about my classroom or courses. You can check the episode descriptions for links or more information about the resources that support each episode. I aim to share one topic a month during the academic year, that you can pocket and add to your teaching practice.

Thanks for listening and taking the time to think about teaching.

Teaching Time-Out

This podcast series is meant to share brief tactics and reflections to help evolve and sharpen our teaching practices, supported by evidence and resources. Each episode will feature one idea or strategy to bring into your teaching practice. Review the episodes below:

Episode 1: First-Day Interview Activity

In this first episode of Teaching Time-Out, we focus on the first day of class. How can we best use this meeting to engage students, and establish the environment we want for the duration of the course? Dr. Blanton will review the work of Drs. Herman, Foster, and Hardin and the dual-interview activity. Click here for the primary supporting paper from the Teaching of Psychology.

Episode 2: Anchors and Actions

In this episode of Teaching Time-Out, we are zooming out from the classroom and thinking about our teaching philosophy statements and how we can practically approach putting together this document. Dr. Blanton will review some key resources and questions to reflect on as you think about writing or re-writing your teaching philosophy.

Episode 3: Building Rapport

Our time-out today is focused on “rapport” and the minimum tactics needed to see significant outcomes with students. Dr. Blanton will highlight some key findings from the works of Dr. Rebecca Glazier and share some simple adjustments college instructors can make to increase the sense of rapport students perceive with their instructors.

Episode 4: Reflective Assessment

We’re taking a time out today to reflect on learning through reflection – how can we learn what and how our students are absorbing the information in our carefully designed courses? Dr. Blanton will highlight two studies in the journal Teaching of Psychology that have implications and suggestions for instructors across the humanities and sciences.

Episode 5: Mattering

We can make simple and straightforward adjustments to help students really feel like they matter. Mattering is a psychological concept. When we feel like we matter is a specific context, we feel like people are paying attention us, that we are important, and that others depend on us in that setting.

Episode 6: PhD Wellness

A central theme across these impactful teaching tactics we’ve explored in these time-outs is the value of focusing on relationships in our classrooms. For this episode, I wanted to focus exclusively on the value of a strong mentoring relationship between advisors and graduate students; this is teaching also, sometimes in a classroom, sometimes in a lab, and sometimes over coffee or on a walk around campus. The way we mentor and teach our graduate students has a significant impact on their mental health and well-being.

Episode 7: Self-Regulated Learning

If we want students to understand what and how they are learning, beyond simply recalling content, then it seems imperative that we explicitly include meta-cognitive and self-regulated learning strategies. Asking students to report on their plans and goals, reflect on their time management and progress, and then think back to what they did that helped them or didn’t help them are all important steps to encourage self-regulated learning, which can lead to strong lifelong learning beyond the college classroom. Especially in the present moment where generative AI tools can write the essay for students, we want them to be able to think about their thinking and how and why they learned something, beyond simply turning in the product that represents their knowledge.

Episode 8: Gamification

Have you ever thought about how much time and energy kids pour into their video games, and thought “if only they cared half as much about their learning” they would be so successful? Many scholars and educators have shared that thought too – and they have turned to gamification to close that gap. Gamification in college classrooms involves using key tenets of games for learning. The research is also showing some trends that it helps students feel more in charge of their learning and that they favor it compared to more traditional or status quo course experiences. In this episode, we’ll review some of these trends, and I will share a bit about how I use gamification in my own classrooms to help students feel like they are succeeding and earning their grade

Episode 9: The Last Class

We end this academic year with an episode focused on the end of a class – what are some ways to meaningfully wrap a semester-long course? I did not find a lot of great research on this topic, but certainly some valuable proposals and ideas in the literature – nothing that was measured or lead to changes empirically. Many of these ideas for the last class center on the shared humanity across teachers and students – what can we think about and discuss and making it to the end of what should have been a challenging but engaging course over three to four months. In that space, a lot of consternation and realizations can happen; pausing to discuss those and think through what went well and what could be better is a great way to close out a course meaningfully.

Episodes 10–13: Hearing from the Students

Inspired by the premise of Ken Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do, I wanted to talk to students about their best college teachers. The goal is to reflect on their experiences in a variety of college classrooms to find key actions that a college teacher displayed toward them or for them, so that we can learn how students believe they are best supported for learning.

In this format, I sit down with a college student to ask a few simple questions about what they think makes for an effective college instructor. I’m curious if we can learn just one thing from each student, that might help us try something new, or double down on an activity or approach that students like or know helps them to learn.

Episode 14: Coming Soon

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