By Emily Pitts Donahoe, associate director of instructional support
The CETL workshop “Yes, And: Igniting Your Pedagogical Imagination” will be held on October 2 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in the Butler Auditorium, Triplett Alumni Center. Register for the event here.
Have you ever attended a teaching workshop and thought, “That’s an interesting idea—but I don’t know how it would work in my class”? Have you ever wanted to get creative with your teaching but didn’t know where to start? Have you ever wanted to see your friends at CETL—Josh, Liz, Derek, and Emily—compete in a game-show-style contest to see who can come up with the most innovative application of a pedagogical technique? If so, this workshop is for you!
At CETL, we’ve found that one of the biggest barriers instructors face when they want to make changes to their teaching is that they aren’t always sure how general or abstract strategies might apply in their specific course contexts or how to translate a teaching strategy from a different discipline into their own field. Of course, CETL staff can make recommendations, but we also think helping instructors get creative with potential teaching applications will result in stronger and more authentic new practices for the instructors who want to implement them.
That’s how we hatched the idea for “Yes, And: Igniting Your Pedagogical Imagination.” It’s built on a concept we’re calling “pedagogical improv”: the ability to take a new teaching technique and play around with it, to get creative even when you don’t have a script for how, exactly, to implement the technique. Don’t worry—we won’t ask you to do any theatrical improvisation during the session! What we will do is model some improvisational strategies in teaching and then give you a chance to practice those strategies on your own—and perhaps even share strategies with folks from other disciplines.
Best of all, we’ll model the practice of pedagogical improv by asking CETL staff to compete in a game-show-style contest. I (Emily) will introduce a general teaching technique. And then our distinguished cross-disciplinary panel—Josh in humanities, Liz in social sciences, and Derek in STEM—will have 5 minutes to generate a plan for how they would employ the technique in their courses. The person who proposes the most creative application of the technique, as determined by our audience, will win the prize (i.e., bragging rights, in perpetuity, at all future CETL staff meetings).
After our competition, you’ll have a chance to play too. We’ll pass around a hat full of teaching techniques, and each participant will draw one. You’ll have a few minutes to brainstorm about how you might implement the technique you’ve drawn in your class—keeping in mind that some of the best ideas come from creative play. And you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with us and with other attendees.
If you’d like to gain new teaching techniques, learn from instructors in other disciplines, and flex your creative muscles, we hope you’ll register to join us for this original workshop session!