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Theory into Practice (TiPs)

In collaboration with the Crown Faculty Center, the staff of the Colket Center for Academic Excellence would like to introduce Theory into Practice. Each TiP will a new topic related to teaching and learning, offer a short summary of research on this topic, and suggest a few ways faculty might apply this research in the classroom.

Contextualizing Content for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students According to Cummins, “language and content will be acquired most successfully when students are challenged cognitively but provided with the contextual and linguistic supports of scaffolds for successful task completion”. What does this mean for our culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms?
Experiential Learning Experiential learning is a pedagogical approach which begins by immersing students in open-ended activities and concrete real-life situations. Through intentional observation of and reflection on those experiences, students cultivate new awareness and new knowledge.
Feedback on Learning Feedback is among the most powerful influences on student learning and achievement. Unlike evaluation or grades, feedback is essentially descriptive, providing students with information about their current knowledge and performance, as well as guidance for achieving specific learning goals. While research indicates that feedback is important for learning, it also suggests that not all forms of feedback are equally effective.

High Impact Writing Assignments

George Kuh posits that writing intensive courses are one of ten high-impact educational practices, a position adopted by The Association of American Colleges and Universities. But Kuh al-so asserts that “to engage students at high levels, these practices must be well done”. So what does “well-done” mean in terms of writing intensive courses and writing assignments?
The Sweet Spot for Learning - Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and Instructional Scaffolding Positioning himself against early stage theorists, Lev Vygotsky argued that learning could actually accelerate the child’s development. The Zone of Proximal Development is sweet spot of learning— the space between what a learner can do independently and without much effort and tasks that are so challenging that a learner finds them frustrating. In this space, a learner can acquire knowledge and skills with support or guidance from teachers or more knowledgeable peers.
Using Reflection to Develop Teaching Expertise As educators, we draw on our expertise in our content areas to teach classes. However, the students and situations in our classrooms fluctuate constantly. To perform successfully in these environments, we must develop adaptive expertise, a type of routine expertise which extends expertise into novel situations.