Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bend it Like Bennett Pick up Soccer Game

Wednesday, September 30, 2009, 4:30, Anniversary Park (at the north end of Parking Lot 7, near Bronson and Colonel By Drive)

Come out and work up a sweat - students, faculty and staff are all welcome. Organized as part of the Geography and Environmental Studies TA Mentorship Program.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Did you miss TA Orientation?

There is a video of the large group session that covers union membership, HR and payroll, and other information related to successful TAship. If you go to view it at the group showings on Friday, September 25, it will count towards your 5 hours of required training. After that, you can watch it on Youtube, but no points for attendance...


If you missed the general orientation session, you can view the session on video and receive credit at either of these times:

Friday, September 25th 9-10 am TB 219


Friday, September 25th 12-1pm TB 217.

Please send an e-mail to this address to register:

The video will also be posted on You Tube, but you cannot receive credit unless you view it at one of the two sessions on Friday, Sept. 25th.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Tutorials and Labratories into Active Learning Experiences

Active learning, making students responsible for their learning and helping them do so through guided experiences, has been shown to have positive impacts on student learning (and is a lot more fun to teach or TA than....inactive learning).

The Carleton Department of Geography and Environmental Studies TA Mentorship Program is offering a workshop called Taking the Next Step: Making Tutorials and Labs into Active Learning Experiences.

Small group learning sessions in DGES provide opportunities for in-depth coverage of course material, teach hands on skills, give direct experience of phenomenon under inquiry or a combination of these. This means that geography and environmental studies is already “most of the way there” in promoting an active learning environment. This workshop will focus on how YOU as the teaching assistant can set up, coach and debrief laboratories and tutorials to tease out their learnings and help your students put the insights from these assignments into context. Using the Experience ⇒ Reflection ⇒ Abstraction ⇒ Generalization model, we will explore how to access powerful learning opportunities by processing student work with them (not just handing back near-forgotten assignments).

The workshop will be offered twice to accommodate busy schedules:
Monday, September 21, 12 to 1 pm, Loeb A211
Tuesday, September 22, 2 to 3 pm, Loeb B341
Friday, September 25, 12 to 1 pm, Loeb A220

E-mail to register

Resources for Taking the Next Step Workshop

Participants in the workshop will get handouts and links to the following they are again for reference:

From the Texas Collaborative for Teaching Excellence, a professional development module on active learning:

To better understand common barriers to active learning in the university classroom, and ways to overcome them:

On the practical end, this worksheet from the University of California - Santa Barbara looks at techniques and tools to make discussions more interesting. In conjunction with conscious efforts to reflect, abstract, and generalize on tutorial and laboratory content and experiences, this can help TAs transform "let's get it done" assignments into powerful learning opportunities:

Active Training: A Handbook of Techniques, Designs, Case Examples and Tips by Mel Silberman and Carol Auerbach (1998, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer). This book is a revelation and although applying its techniques to learning disciplinary content needs to be thought through carefully, the chapters on preparing effective lectures, finding alternative methods to lecturing and using experiential learning approaches should be required reading for course instructors and teaching assistants. Available online through the Carleton Library:

Need to actually understand the process, theory, intellectual heritage? Read: David A. Kolb (1984), Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Devleopment, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

And the workshop notes/presentation are available on the Geography and Environmental Studies TA Mentorship WebCT site.