Tag Archives: collaborate

Create a collaborative teaching environment with just one word

21 Aug

Create a collaborative teaching environment from the beginning with the use of one word. Use “we” rather than “I” when talking about topics, issues, readings, presentations – whatever it is – to be discussed in class.

By saying “Today we are going to talk about three different leadership models” you suggest to students that they are active participants in their learning.

By stating “Today I am going to talk about three different leadership models” you suggest that your students are passive recipients of knowledge.


Additional Resources / Ideas

Developing some “low stakes” writing prompts can help you and students to prepare for launching into collaboration – when students come to class having done some writing or open class with a bit of writing, they have engaged in “writing to learn” and are ready to join you in the collaborative process that is learning.  Resources to spark your thinking about low stakes / writing to learn prompts for in class or preparing for class situations:

  • from the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo: an overview of “low stakes” writing and several specific prompts that can be adapted across the curriculm: http://cte.uwaterloo.ca/teaching_resources/tips/low_stakes_writing_assignments.html
  • from Lisa Lucas: five effective questions to prompt low stakes, in or out of class writing
    1. Give a five-to-ten-line summary of last night’s reading. Include two or three main ideas.
    2. What were three of the most important points from yesterday’s discussion?
    3. If you were summarizing today’s discussion for a friend who was absent, what two ideas do you think are the most essential?
    4. Define in your own words the term ________________.
    5. Tell me three things wrong with this statement: ____________.

    See http://tilt.colostate.edu/tips/tip.cfm?tipid=160for more ideas.

  • from the Assigning In Class Writing section of the “Helping Students Write Better in All Courses” chapter in Barbara Gross Davis’ online Tools for Teaching  – some ideas from http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/writebetter.html



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