Skip to main content

Teaching is generally (and unfortunately) an isolated activity.  We find it hard to make the space to reflect on teaching together, partly because of more pressing matters, partly because it is difficult to find a place and time to meet in a group, and – most discouraging of all – partly because we are fearful of sharing our limits and frustrations as teachers.  To address this, the Center sponsors semester-long Teaching Circles.

Teaching Circles are small groups of faculty from various disciplines who come together to discuss matters related to teaching and learning.  Members meet every other week so are able to dive deeply into a topic as well as develop relationships among each other.  The discussion is centered around one focal book (provided free of cost to participants) that guides the conversation.  Members serve as informal “discussion leaders” each week but the conversation is typically guided by the group at large.

We always accept suggestions for future teaching and learning books to read!

In the Spring of 2019, four teaching circles will be offered.

Ramapo

What’s New in Research on Teaching and Learning?

Many of us know time-tested best practices for teaching effectiveness.  However, just like each of our specialty disciplines, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is continually evolving and updating.  SoTL is the empirical study of teaching and learning effectiveness, and much of we know about how to be teachers starts from research such as this.  When we read about teaching best practices in books or attend presentations at conferences, the best practices discussed may be many years old by the time it filters down.  In this teaching circle, we will explore current research on best practices.  We will see new perspectives on old questions, as well as examinations of new topics that have previously not be studied.  The goal of this teaching circle is to learn the most up-to-date teaching practices in order to be the most effective educator possible!

This circle will meet from 12:00 – 1:00 on the following dates this semester:

  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 6
  • March 27
  • April 10
  • April 24
Ramapo

Online and Hybrid Teaching and Learning

Do you have to prep a new online or hybrid course that you have never done before? Have you been teaching an online or hybrid course for many years and feel like it needs to be “shaken up” a bit? Would you like to add an online component to a face-to-face class you currently teach? This circle is designed to assist those interested in developing new online or hybrid courses and/or improving existing courses. Participants in this program will read and discuss “The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Designing and Teaching Online Courses” (provided free of cost to participants) and will work toward the development or improvement of their courses. After working through this circle, you will have developed a plan for your new and/or improved course! This circle will benefit both new and seasoned faculty members.

This circle will meet from 11:00 – 12:00 on the following dates this semester:

  • January 30
  • February 13
  • February 27
  • March 13
  • March 27
  • April 10
  • April 24

Ramapo

Navigating the National Political Climate in the Classroom

This teaching circle examines strategies for addressing the current national political climate as it manifests in the college classroom.  Whether or not faculty are teaching courses that explicitly address national politics, elements of this climate can be seen in the classroom: the fact that the U.S. is highly ideologically divided; the emboldening of biases and prejudices; and the confusion over the accuracy of information about social issues, to name a few.  In this circle, we will spend each week on different challenges to teaching in this context and will identify ways to address them. Examples of topics include: 1)  How can faculty set boundaries between reasonable debate and disrespect? 2) What are best practices in handling inflammatory or bigoted comments?; and 3) How do faculty members maintain their own self care in navigating their responsibilities as teacher, while at the same time also being personally impacted by this national climate?

This circle will meet from 12:00 – 1:00 on the following dates this semester:

  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 6
  • March 27
  • April 10
  • April 24

Environmental Humanities

The Faculty Resource Center (with the Center For Sustainability and Literature convening group) would like to invite you to join a Teaching Circle devoted to the Environmental Humanities. We would like this to be a forum to share ideas and developments on the environmental challenges of our times and how we could further this in our classrooms.

The circle will meet on the following days:

  • TBA