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Voicing Vexations

Spring 2012

Are you a faculty member on the verge of despair over a teaching issue?  Do you want to add value, variety, and vitality to your teaching without jeopardizing your vision or veracity? 

“Voicing Vexations” is a new discussion forum presented by the Institute for Teaching and Learning, in which participants work together to examine and resolve issues that plague their teaching or their students’ learning.

This discussion is an offshoot of part of Keith Barker and David Moss’s “Reflections on Teaching Practices” seminar class, which is offered to graduate students who are relatively new at teaching.  In the “Reflections” course, participants identify difficult or troublesome aspects of their instruction (vexations), share them with colleagues in a non-threatening environment, and receive constructive feedback aimed toward helping them approach and resolve the issues. 

We all know, however, that new teachers aren’t the only ones plagued with such vexations; many of us who have been teaching for years would love the opportunity to troubleshoot our own vexations as well.  This discussion forum offers just that opportunity.

Each participant will send in a brief description of his or her vexation, along with any pertinent details about the contextual background and teaching philosophy that will help group members fully understand the issue.  Then, the group will meet every two weeks for about an hour to work through a few of the vexations, offering constructive feedback.  ITL will facilitate the sessions, offering resources and occasionally inviting visiting experts to contribute to the discussions.

What constitutes a vexation?  The following list offers a sampling of areas in which vexations may lurk:

    • Determining student learning objectives
    • Conducting discussions
    • Ensuring student participation/engagement
    • Assessing student work
    • Working with colleagues
    • Ensuring academic integrity
    • Teaching to different learning styles
    • Teaching large classes
    • Incorporating active learning in the classroom

    The group will meet on Monday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:15 p.m. for six sessions in CUE 133:  2/6, 2/20, 3/5, 3/19, 4/2 and 4/16.  Contact Laurie Wolfley for more information and to register:  laurie.wolfley@uconn.edu.

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