Teaching takes centre stage at conference

Teaching skillfully requires a constant openness and flexibility to experimenting with whatever approaches help students learn, according to University of St. Thomas (Minn.) professor Stephen Brookfield, who will deliver the keynote address at the Fall Perspective on Teaching Conference on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Presented by the Teaching Support Centre, the one-day conference runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in Social Science Centre (SSC), Room 2050.

In his session, entitled Becoming a Skillful Teacher, Brookfield will contend teachers need to build a critically reflective habit to be as sure, as is realistically possible, their teaching actions taken are based on valid and accurate assumptions about how our students learn.

Brookfield, who has written, co-written or edited 17 books on adult learning, teaching and critical thinking, said teachers need to know how students understand material, experience classroom activities, read meaning into teaching actions, and make progress as learners.

Brookfield will be joined by numerous other presentations during the conference, including:

  • Putting Critical Thinking into Practice, led by Brookfield, 10:45 a.m. in SSC 2050;
  • Explorations in Digital Teaching: Some Case Studies in the Uses of Instructional Technologies, led by Stefanie Attardi, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry; Suzanne Kearns, Social Science; Mark McDayter, Arts & Humanities; Elan Paulson, Education; and Tim Wilson, Schulich, 10:45 a.m. in SSC 2036;
  • But Can I Use It in My Teaching? Navigating the Copyright Landscape, led by Tom Adam, special advisor to the provost on copyright, 1 p.m. in SSC 2036;
  • How to Ask Your Students What They Think about the Course and Use Feedback to Improve Learning During the Term, led by Nanda Dimitrov, Teaching Support Centre;
  • Skillful Teaching: Students’ Perspectives a closing plenary session featuring a discussion with undergraduate students who will build on Brookfield’s keynote session by providing their own perspectives on skillful teaching. Based on their experiences at Western, the panelists will share effective and engaging learning experiences they have had and how their professors helped facilitate those experiences. 2:30 p.m. in SSC 2050.

Visit the conference website to register.