When I was recently scouring the Internet for good teaching resources, I came across an exceptional site. The Solving a Teaching Problem webpage from the Eberly Center: Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation takes teachers through three steps to find practical solutions to teaching problems.
As I walk through the process, Step 1 asks me to identify a problem that I am experiencing in my teaching. For example, “Students don’t seek help when they need it”.
In Step 2, I am provided with a list of possible reasons for this problem. In this case, some possible reasons are
- “Students overestimate their understanding and ability
- Students may perceive you as unapproachable
- Students are seeking help that is not working”
These are just three of the nine suggested reasons. Even if I were to stop exploring the website here, I feel that this has been beneficial because it has forced me to think critically about why my students and I are experiencing this problem. To continue from this step, I must choose what I think the reason is.
In Step 3, I am provided with a list of potential strategies to address the problem. In this case, I select that I think the students aren’t seeking help because they overestimate their understanding. The site then provided me with four suggested strategies to address this problem:
- “Use diagnostic assessments
- Embed frequent practice into your course
- Provide opportunities for reflection on performance
- Explicitly discuss with students different levels of knowledge”
Along with this list, I am also given a few paragraphs of information describing these strategies.
I am excited to explore this site further and to share it with others. It seems to be exceedingly simple to navigate to find answers to practical problems that teachers experience every day. The problems range from achievement to behaviour and everything in between. Give this site a try and please comment on your experience below. If you know of other similar sites, please share the link with us.
Screencapture from: http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/solveproblem/index.html