Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
The posting below provides links to some great teaching resources. It was designed by The Society for the Teaching of Psychology, but it can be useful for many other disciplines. It is written by William S. Altman, Vice President for Resources, Society for the Teaching of Psychology. He is a professor in the Psychology and Human Services Department at SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY.
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Tomorrow’s Teaching and Learning
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What Can the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Do for You? Lots, Even If You Teach Other Subjects!
The Society for the Teaching of Psychology, STP (Division 2 of the American Psychological Association) promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology, but you can benefit from our materials and services even if you teach a different subject. STP has lots of ways to make your job easier and help you be a better teacher, no matter what you teach. For example, if you teach, you grade. And grumble? Would you like to know how to grade faster while improving fairness, transparency, and the effectiveness of your assignments as teaching tools? (Check out our information on using rubrics.)
STP offers peer-reviewed, evidence-based teaching and advising resources, conferences and workshops to make you a better teacher and researcher, media training materials, a mentoring service, free publications, grants, awards, job postings, and many ways to connect with dedicated and innovative teachers around the world who want to help each other achieve greatness in our classrooms. That support can inspire you and help you advance in your career.
One of our most popular teaching resources is ToPIX, the Teaching of Psychology Idea Exchange.This is where you’ll find advice for creating those rubrics to reduce the amount of time you spend grading papers, among other course design and management tools, such as guides for using technology effectively in the classroom, and tips on dealing with classroom issues, plagiarism, ethical dilemmas, and academic advising.
The ToPIX wiki contains a plethora of classroom materials—seriously, insert your favorite cliché here: a cornucopia, a gold mine, a wellspring—of teaching aides including large collections of activities, interactive assignments, open educational resources, annotated bibliographies of books and films, writing assignments, curricular suggestions, lab manuals, classroom demonstrations, video and audio files that you can use directly in class, and news stories that illustrate particular concepts. In addition, you’ll find materials to help your students learn about critical thinking and information literacy, study strategies, and ways to be more effective writers.
ToPIX also provides links to many other online resources recommended by our members to help you be a more effective and happier instructor: teaching podcasts and blogs, listservs that send great teaching ideas straight to your email, and our favorite teaching websites and organizations. The videos of master teachers in action may inspire you.
Need help designing a syllabus? Project Syllabusprovides a set of best-practices-based guidelinesfor designing great syllabi, and a rubricthat you can use to help prepare, evaluate, or improve your syllabus. For psychology instructors, there are over 300 top-notch, peer-reviewed syllabi in nearly 40 categories (for Introductory Psychology, there are 30 variations). Other categories include more specialized courses, and there’s a collection of syllabi specifically written for various online courses.
You can gain more practical advice from our blog, This is How I Teach.Highlighting instructors from many different types of institutions, it offers a peek inside STP members’ classrooms and offices. For example, many write about their teaching approaches, as well as favorite activities, assignments, and technology tools.
We also publish many free e-books to help you in the classroom and with your professional development. They cover a wide range of teaching and career issues, such as evaluation, student engagement, classroom practices, academic advising, and student research, as well as more philosophical essays from exemplary teachers. Here’s a sampling of some of the general-interest titles:
· What I Wish My Mentor Had Told Me
· The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning
· Academic Advising: A Handbook for Advisors and Students
· How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Student-Centered Teaching
· Telling Stories: The Art and Science of Storytelling as an Instructional Strategy
· Effective Evaluation of Teaching: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators
If you’ve ever listened wistfully (or perhaps angrily) as an academic was interviewed by the media or speaking to a local group, wanting to share your knowledge and perspective, perhaps the media training materials on our might help. Psychology in Communities Wikimight help. You can discover your preferred ways to work with the media (for example, becoming a trusted source, or getting your own column or time on the air), and get step-by-step directions for achieving your goal. Of course, there are also ideas for class assignments, projects, club activities, and community building.
I often learn best by working directly with others. For me, conferences and workshops are ideal venues, not only for learning new skills and improving my existing abilities, but also for networking and developing lasting professional relationships with colleagues. For this reason, STP sponsors an Annual Conference on Teachingand provides workshops, teaching institutes, and programming for many other conferences (check out the offerings on the website’s conference tab). Of course, our conferences will be of interest mostly to psychology instructors, but if you’re doing research on the scholarship of teaching and learningand are struggling to publish, we have a workshop that offers step-by-step guidance to take your SoTL research idea and ready it for manuscript submission. (Really, we talk to biologists and are not thatafraid of physicists. Seriously, you might find that faculty who teach different subjects have developed the type of resource you need, one that could be modified to serve your purposes.)
If you’re teaching psychology, history, or any of the other social and behavioral sciences, you and your students may enjoy exploring the Today in the History of Psychologywiki. It’s a constantly growing online compilation of key events and people, with over 3000 entries organized in a cross-referenced calendar format, with links to other online content. Go ahead, check out what happened on your birthday now! I’ll wait here. (You might assign students to write about the important events and birthdays that happened on their own birthdays.) Perhaps this could also serve as a model for your field? It’s a great way to expand the context and diversity of information available to students.
I strongly encourage psychology faculty to check out our discussion lists. That’s one of the first places I turn when I have a question about teaching or need advice. Check out our grants, which help members travel to conferences, develop teaching resources, bring in speakers, and do research in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Our mentoring program is expanding to help faculty at all stages of their careers. We also provide consulting to assist departments with program reviews, curriculum revisions, grant writing, professional development, facilities design, and other needs.
If you’re a psychologist, consider membership in STP. The cost is just $25 per year for faculty, and only $15 for students, and you don’t need to be a member of APA to join us. Membership includes the journal, Teaching of Psychology, access to our Professional Development Mentoring Service, online access to the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly(thanks to a reciprocal agreement with the Society for the Psychology of Women, APA Div. 35), access to our searchable membership directory, special publications for members only, and a host of other benefits. Learn more about joining STP on our website.