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Teaching and Learning symposia archive

Pride in the Humanities

The Division of Humanities Teaching and Learning Symposium

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity: These are the fundamental characteristics that our students gain from learning in the Humanities. Let’s celebrate the ways we prepare our students for the future. We know our students face a rapidly changing future, but we can assure them that the skills and knowledge gained in the Humanities prepare them for that journey.

Come and celebrate with us the varied and dynamic ways that we teach in the Humanities. Share your own expertise, gather ideas from others, and create new opportunities.

The symposium will conclude with the annual awarding of the Division’s Teaching Awards.

Programme schedule

9:00am Welcome - Associate Professor Simone Marshall
Mihi Whakatau
Keynote - Professor Ruth Fitzgerald
The Symposium Surprise
Moot Court
10:00am Can controlling the classroom undermine student-directed learning?
Associate Professor Selene Mize
Seminar Room 5
Teaching and Learning Circles
Dr Tracy Rogers and others
Moot Court
11:00am Morning Tea
Seminar Room 5
11.30am HUMS301/401 Internship Practicum
Associate Professor Alex Trapeznik
Ms Nicola Cummins
Seminar Room 5
Designing and Marking Group Work
Peter Grace
Professor Janine Hayward
Dr Gwynaeth McIntyre
Dr Chris Rudd
Associate Professor Ben Schonthal
Moot Court

Seminar room 5

1:30pm Starting a conversation about assessing with sounds and images
Professor Ruth Fitzgerald
Associate Professor Catherine Fowler
Seminar Room 5
Student Mentoring
Members of SOULS and POLSA

Moot Court

2:30pm Student Plenary
Moot Court
3:00pm Teaching Awards and Afternoon Tea
Seminar room 5

2018 – Rebuilding your ship at sea: Cultivating identity, integrity, community and collegiality in times of change

Read the news article about the 2018 Teaching and Learning symposium

We are interested to explore the question of how we carry on teaching and learning in choppy seas, to borrow an image from Otto Neurath:

We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea, never able to dismantle it in dry-dock and to reconstruct it there out of the best materials. Where a beam is taken away a new one must at once be put there, and for this the rest of the ship is used as support. In this way, by using the old beams and driftwood the ship can be shaped entirely anew, but only by gradual reconstruction.

How do we maintain our identity as teachers in times of change? What are the principles and values that help to anchor our teaching? How can we work collegially and collaboratively in this project of rebuilding? How can we make new connections and see new opportunities or possibilities?

Workshops - Session One

1. Kāinga Waewae – Know Your Own Backyard

In 2017 our Māori language teaching team implemented a multi-levelled group assignment for our Māori language immersion students studying from 100- to 300-level called ‘Kāinga Waewae’. For this assessment students from all three levels were placed into mixed groups, given a section of the university, and were asked to research one particular aspect of that area. They were then tasked with creating a resource that would teach others about their chosen topic and to present it at the end of the semester. The idea was for them to learn off each other, discover their strengths and weaknesses and to encourage and foster tuakana-teina within the students to create a more cohesive group of Māori language learners and speakers within the University. We think it did this and we continued with Kāinga Waewae in 2018. This year, however, we have narrowed the focus of the groups and made some changes according to the feedback we received from last year’s students. We will share these changes and reflect on some of the successes and challenges of this collaborative approach.

Facilitators: Karyn Paringatai, Mrs Megan Potiki, Mr Craig Hall (Te Tumu)

2. Learning by Heart: The Risk and Potential of Emotion in Teaching Practice

Traditional western education has been described as ‘neck-up’ – focussing on thought and reason, but often devaluing other ways of being, knowing, and learning. However a range of scholars continue to press for attention to affective, embodied, relational, and political aspects of learning. Alongside this there are urgent calls to be mindful of trauma and the need for ‘safe’ learning spaces.

This workshop is about turning our attention to the ways that emotion is already part of the learning experience (both the classrooms and the content), and starting conversations about the risks and potentials for a more deliberate engagement with emotion as part of our teaching practice. How might we address students as whole people? What does this look like, practically speaking? The focus will be on allowing workshop participants space to share their own experiences and strategies around holistic teaching practice.

Facilitator: Susan Wardell (Social Anthropology)

3. ‘Learning is not a Spectator Sport’: Using Simulations to Motivate and Engage Students

Active learning refers to an assortment of teaching techniques where students do more than simply listen to a lecture. An activity that is frequently used in active learning is the simulation. Simulations seek to mirror real-world situations and have students experience the same constraints and motivations experienced by real actors. The Department of Politics introduced simulations into two of its 100-level papers. The aim was to foster student engagement and increase the motivation to continue studying Politics in later years. We also aimed to enhance group cooperation and to help with the transition from school to university. Students were surveyed both before and after the simulations. The aim of our presentation is to share with others our experiences with regards to what worked well, what didn’t work well, and where to from here.

Facilitators: Jim Headley, Esme Hall, Peter Grace, Josh James and Chris Rudd (Politics)

4. Thinking about thinking: Empowering Learners by Scaffolding Metacognitive Awareness

Metacognitive awareness enables students to know about their learning, to assess which strategies will be most effective in their studies, and to monitor and evaluate their learning. Last year, student feedback from EDUC 252 How People Learn suggested that the knowledge and strategies taught in this paper had the potential to enhance their approaches to learning in other papers. In 2018, with the assistance of a CALT grant, the EDUC 252 teaching team continued to develop lecture and workshop activities to scaffold students’ metacognitive awareness and regulation, effectively embedding metacognitive development into the curriculum. This presentation invites colleagues to explore how students’ metacognitive awareness can be enhanced through specific teaching strategies. Together with opportunities for questions and discussion, participants will complete a Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI), sample a scaffolding strategy to enhance critical literacy, and consider how metacognitive skills might be embedded in teaching across campus.

Facilitators: David Berg, Kim Brown and Sylvia Robertson (Education)

5. Building a Collegial Dialogue about Dialogue

Dialogue is a key strategy to support student learning. Regardless of how long we have been teaching or how successful we have been at facilitating dialogue, we can always reflect and improve. Our own research investigates and promotes the use of student-to-student dialogue in primary school classrooms to enhance learning. This work has prompted us to reflect on our own practices. Working with a variety of dialogic pedagogies, in this interactive session we will:

  • Co-construct shared understandings of dialogue for tertiary teaching;
  • Share practices that support dialogic interactions; and
  • Consider the affordances and limitations of working across different tertiary spaces (e.g. lectures, tutorials etc.).

This workshop is for anyone interesting in developing their use of dialogue for tertiary teaching, regardless of experience or teaching context. If you are willing to share please bring an idea or strategy that you have used to initiate dialogue.

Facilitators: Susan Sandretto, Jane Tilson and Helen Trevethan (Education)

Workshops Session Two: 1.15pm-2.15pm

1. Teamwork in the BA

We regularly hear that the one of the most sought-after graduate attributes from employers is teamwork and that this is an area that needs improvement for many of the Humanities disciplines due to the focus on independent research projects. This workshop will work through some of the fears, common misconceptions, and anxieties about introducing group work. Participants will be introduced to some of the existing infrastructure at the University (like the “groups” function of blackboard) that can help facilitate this kind of curriculum development, and we will discuss the outcomes and benefits (and struggles) of group work. The bulk of the session will be devoted to brainstorming projects/assessments that could be implemented across the various disciplines that make up our Division and encouraging participants to tailor these projects to their individual papers and curriculum.

Facilitator: Gwynaeth McIntyre (Classics)

2. Mindfulness in the Classroom

This workshop explores the use of “contemplative learning techniques” or mindfulness initiatives in the university classroom to assist students with focus, resilience and empathy. Mindfulness is a present, engaged and self-aware state of mind, associated with mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, that is cultivated through brain training exercises such as meditation. There is a growing body of scientific evidence connecting a sense of mindfulness with measurable improvements in concentration and productivity, a heightened ability to tackle complex problems, better emotional regulation and empathy, physical health and a more peaceful mind-set. This suggests that mindfulness practices can be a useful pedagogical tool for helping students to “think straight” rather than being overly reactive, distracted or overwhelmed by circumstances.

Facilitator: Anna High (Law)

3. Curriculum Design Within and Across the Discipline

During this time of change within the Division many departments find themselves re-examining their curricula. However, we sometimes find ourselves doing these revisions without any agreed-upon guiding philosophy. What exactly are we trying to accomplish with a disciplinary curriculum? What principles should we have for changes? How do we manage disagreement on these changes? This workshop will function as a place to collect ideas, experiences, and best practices among the participants. We will particularly think about curriculum creation in an integrating divisional context. The workshop leader(s) will bring research on tertiary curriculum design, data about the practices of students at Otago, and notes on reaching group decisions. The workshop will use these points plus the contributions of workshop participants to collect a set of concepts on curriculum philosophy that participants can take back to their departments.

Facilitator: Hunter Hatfield (Linguistics)

4. Enhancing Students’ Engagement with Course Readings

“They don’t do the readings!” Have you or your colleagues uttered these words? If students face challenges in reading the material they are less likely to engage in the reading. This workshop will examine some challenges that students may face in understanding readings: content, vocabulary and limited use of reading strategies. Drawing on research into effective comprehension strategies, these challenges will be analysed, and strategies shared to help overcome these challenges within our teaching. The session will be interactive, with participants engaging with material presented and offering other suggestions. Practical examples will be shared and it is hoped that participants will gain some tools or insights that they can apply in their teaching.

Facilitator: Jill Paris (Education)

5. Teaching and Learning Circles: Invigorate Your Teaching with a Little TLC

The best way to invigorate your teaching is through observing others teach. In this workshop we will share how the Teaching and Learning Circles (TLC) initiative provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your own teaching through observing your peers teaching. The Teaching and Learning Circles initiative departs from other evaluative peer observation of teaching approaches by emphasising self-reflection, non-judgemental comments, and collegial conversations. To date, 22 teachers across the Division have participated in a Teaching and Learning Circle and others have formed in other divisions in the University. In this workshop you will have the opportunity to explore how a Teaching and Learning Circle operates by observing a clip of some interesting teaching, reflecting on your own teaching practice, and then engaging in small group discussions. Members of Teaching and Learning Circles will also share their experiences.

Facilitator: Tracy Rogers (HEDC)

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2017 – Celebrating Teaching symposium

Celebrating teaching symposium Clinton session
Teaching staff from the University's Division of Humanities during a discussion and networking session at the Division's inaugural Celebrating Teaching symposium.

The Division of Humanities held its inaugural Celebrating Teaching symposium on 17 October – aiming to shine a spotlight on teaching and look at ways to enhance and refresh it.

With the theme "revisiting, refreshing and re-envisioning", Humanities Associate Dean Academic Associate Professor Tim Cooper says the symposium drew a large number of staff from the Division who enjoyed getting together to think about teaching.

"Their passion for effective teaching and learning was evident, as was the goodwill among staff to share ideas and innovations. The aim of the day was to 'celebrate teaching' and the atmosphere was positive. We look on it as a great success and plan to run it again annually."

Staff participated in a number of workshops looking to the future of teaching – many of which explored how modern technologies and social media impact on current students’ expectations and the ways in which to use these formats.

Three of the University’s previous winners of national teaching excellence awards also delivered lectures to the delegates – in 10-minute teaching sessions – giving staff a chance to put themselves in the position of students and see how others teach.

One of these was 2014 Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence winner Dr Karyn Paringatai. She took staff through a "learning in the dark" session, giving participants eye masks and switching off the lights to demonstrate the way she uses this ancient Māori pedagogy to help students learn in her lectures.

The symposium also saw the announcement of two new initiatives for the Division – Divisional teaching awards which will be modelled on the University-wide teaching awards; and a new mentoring and peer review framework – both of which will begin next year.

"One of the most effective ways of enhancing our own teaching is to be exposed to the teaching of others," Associate Professor Cooper says. "We have provided a framework for that to happen. Teams of three or four teachers (most likely from different departments) will form what we are calling teaching circles. They will sit in on each other’s lectures then get together (over food or coffee) to reflect on what they learned. The aim is to create a peer review process that is voluntary, positive, mutual and social. It is based on reciprocity, self-reflection, appreciation and mutual respect."

The initiative is new to the University, and is supported by a Quality Improvement Grant.

"Tracey Rogers, who recently completed a PhD in Education Studies, undertook a literature review for us. This model emerged as one that is fresh, effective and innovative."

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Cooper says the awards are being introduced as a way to celebrate and acknowledge the many excellent teachers in Humanities.

"We also want to provide a stepping stone to success in the University’s own teaching excellence awards so we have modelled our ones on those."

Applications for the awards will be available in February, and will close on 31 August. The winners will be announced at next year’s symposium in October.

Humanities teaching staff wear eye masks to experience "learning in the dark" - a technique used by award winning teacher Dr Karyn Paringatai.

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