Upcoming Conference

Fall Perspectives on Teaching (pdf)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Social Science Centre, Room 2050

Welcoming Remarks

Janice Deakin, Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
Debra Dawson, Director, Teaching Support Centre
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
SSC 2050
Keynote Session 9:15 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
SSC 2050

Becoming a Skillful Teacher
Dr. Stephen Brookfield, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN

Teaching skillfully requires a constant openness and flexibility to experimenting with whatever approaches help students learn.  This means we need to build the critically reflective habit into our practice so that we can be as sure as is realistically possible that the teaching actions we take are based on valid and accurate assumptions about how our students learn. We need to know how students understand material, experience classroom activities, read meaning into our teaching actions, and make progress as learners.  In this presentation Stephen Brookfield will present the core assumptions of skillful teaching.

  • Good teaching is whatever helps students learn, no matter how outlandish or strange that appears
  • The best teachers are critically reflective - constantly trying to see their practice through multiple lenses
  • The most important pedagogic knowledge we need to do good work is knowledge of how our students are experiencing their learning, week in, week out
  • Context changes everything

Throughout his talk he will draw on his own autobiographical experiences of teaching and learning to illustrate how these core assumptions manifest themselves in his own practice.

Since beginning his teaching career in 1970, Dr. Stephen Brookfield has worked in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States, teaching in a variety of college settings. He has written, co-written or edited seventeen books on adult learning, teaching, critical thinking, discussion methods and critical theory, six of which have won the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education. He currently serves on the editorial boards of educational journals in Britain, Canada and Australia, as well as in the United States. After 10 years as a Professor of Higher and Adult Education at Columbia University in New York, he now holds the John Ireland Endowed Chair at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota where he recently won the university's Diversity Leadership Teaching & Research Award and also the John Ireland Presidential Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Teacher/Scholar.

Refreshment Break

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Concurrent Session A - Choose One Session

Session A-1

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
SSC 2050

Putting Critical Thinking into Practice

In this interactive workshop, Stephen Brookfield will explore how teachers can demonstrate critical thinking for their students, and he will introduce a number of classroom protocols that have been found to engage students in critical thinking across the disciplines.

Dr. Stephen Brookfield, University of St. Thomas

Session A-2

10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
SSC 2036

Explorations in Digital Teaching: Some Case Studies in the Uses of Instructional Technologies

In this panel, practitioner members of the Western Network for Digital Education and Research (WNDER) outline some of their own experiences with using instructional technology in and out of the classroom, with a particular focus upon the pedagogical benefits (and costs) involved. What "works"? And what doesn't? Panelists will be focusing upon their own practices, and will share tools and ideas that can enhance student engagement. Participants in this session are invited to share their own experiences with instructional technologies as well.

Panelists: Stefanie Attardi (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry), Suzanne Kearns (Social Science), Mark McDayter (Arts & Humanities), Elan Paulson (Education), Tim Wilson (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry)


12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Concurrent Session B - Choose One Session

Session B-1

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
SSC 2036

But Can I Use It in My Teaching? Navigating the Copyright Landscape

The Canadian copyright landscape has undergone tremendous change, especially with recent amendments to the Canadian Copyright Act and subsequent Supreme Court rulings that serve to interpret sections of the act. At Western, plans were put in place last September to create and implement a comprehensive copyright literacy strategy for the university. The goal is to assist the entire Western community to navigate these changes and make informed decisions when using the work of others on campus, whether in research or in teaching and learning. Come and find out about this new copyright environment and the information, tools, resources, and services that Western has in place to facilitate navigating the copyright landscape.

Tom Adam, Special Advisor to the Provost on Copyright

Session B-2

1:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
SSC 2050

Not Afraid of "Rate My Professors": How to Ask Your Students What They Think About the Course and Use Feedback to Improve Learning During the Term

Join us to learn simple, fast, easy to use strategies to get feedback from your students in class throughout the term.  By using the feedback strategies and assessment techniques you hear about in the session, you will be able to assess which areas of the material they may struggle with and where they may need additional support; get instant feedback about what helps and hinders their learning and respond to this feedback quickly within the first few weeks of the term to make learning activities more relevant and meaningful to students within the same term.  After using these strategies, you will be able to look up your course on Rate My Professors with confidence - you will already know how students feel about learning in your course.

Nanda Dimitrov, Teaching Support Centre

Refreshment Break

2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Plenary Session

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
SSC 2050

Skillful Teaching: Students' Perspectives

Please join us for a panel discussion with undergraduate students who will build on Stephen 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.

Moderator: John Doerksen, Vice Provost (Academic Programs)
Panelists: Joanne Afghani (Social Science), Kevin Hurren (Information & Media Studies), Raksha Sule (Medicine & Dentistry), Gina B. Uppal (Health Sciences)