Educational Leadership: The Bishop as Teacher
The College for Bishops Leadership Institute was established to provide educational resources for new bishops as well as trending informational resources for all bishops. Educational Leadership: The Bishop as Teacher focuses on specific resources related to teaching:
New items are added monthly. To comment or suggest new topics or resources, please use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.
Effective Teaching Practices
For baseball fans and players, springtime can only mean one thing: spring training. These professionals continue to spend hours each year working on many of the same things Little Leaguers work on during the start of their seasons. Minor adjustments in these fundamentals of the game produce major improvements. The same is true for faculty who remain mindful of their fundamentals, and make small, incremental improvements to their teaching.
For teachers, who are directly exposed to a large number of young people with trauma in their work, a type of trauma known as vicarious trauma, is a big risk. Sometimes called the “cost of caring,” vicarious trauma can result from “hearing people’s trauma stories and becoming witnesses to the pain, fear, and terror that trauma survivors have endured,” according to the American Counseling Association.
Over and over, we teach our students to revise their papers; we teach them the difference between revision and editing; and over and over, every term, we get papers whose revision means a fixed citation, some newly misplaced commas, a few thesaurused words. Are we being unclear in our expectations? I don’t think so. More likely, the students have not yet learned about the life-changing magic of letting things go.
Instant judgments, called implicit bias, involve automatically categorizing people according to cultural stereotypes. The consequences of implicit bias in schools are both powerful and measurable, as teachers may make assumptions about the capabilities of students based on factors such as race and ethnicity. Microaggressions are one outgrowth of implicit bias, “prejudices that leak out in many interpersonal situations and decision points.”
The analogy of the Oreo™ cookie has often been used to describe how feedback should be given to students. The analogy asserts that a positive comment about work is given first, then information about where the student went wrong, followed by another positive comment to encourage the student. While this analogy reminds instructors to sandwich negative comments with positive ones, this approach is incomplete and can result in superficial and general feedback. A better analogy is the Almond Joy: some key features of this treat act as a guide for providing effective feedback.
Good teaching is emotional work, requiring reserves of patience and ingenuity that are all-too-often depleted in overworked faculty members. Teachers work with people and try to help them to develop — a task that requires much more than just academic training. If we’re not psychologically healthy, it’s near-impossible to do our jobs well. Here are some suggestions from The Chronicle of Higher Education for making it through the semester.
The moment you want to retreat is the exact moment you have to reach in. Challenge is also a moment of opportunity. For some school leaders, it is counter-intuitive to think that they might need to ask for help. But in order to thrive, it’s vital that school leaders reach out and create pathways for support. This article from Edutopia suggests some ways to find help.
On that ﬁrst day of class, your students are forming a lasting impression not just of you as a teacher but of your course, too. Their early, thin-slice judgments are powerful enough to condition their attitudes toward the entire course, the effort they are willing to put into it, and the relationship they will have with you and their peers throughout the semester. So that ﬁrst class meeting is a big deal. You want to give students a taste of the engaging intellectual journey they will undertake in the coming weeks — and you have great ﬂexibility in how you go about it. Helping you to make that opening session as effective as possible, whatever your discipline, is the goal of this online guide.
Education research continues to remind us of the powerful impact teachers have on children. This impact is overwhelmingly positive—the studies we highlight here demonstrate specific ways in which teachers can or already do help students feel a sense of belonging in school and make gains in learning. If there’s a common thread among most of these studies, it’s this: To boost student learning, focusing on academics isn’t enough. We should also think about how well students—and teachers—are supported.
As longtime practitioners in our disciplines, we develop implicit skills that can be the source of some of the deepest learning for our students. John Dewey describes habit as “the formation of attitudes, attitudes that are emotional and intellectual…our basic sensitivities and ways of responding to all the conditions we meet in living”. These often overlooked dimensions of learning are also where empathy lives, and so it is there that knowledge might blossom not only into expertise but into wisdom.
The first day of class sets the tone for the community life ahead. The author in this article from Faculty Focus set his goals for the term in a set of formal intentions and then shared this poem with his students as they started their time together.
Active learning has been shown to improve student success. This “menu” contains specific activities, instructions, and suggestions to help you incorporate more active learning in your classes without having to redesign your syllabus. All are designed around tasks with inherent value; in other words, these are designed to get students doing more of the important work of learning, not the instructor.
Whether local, national, or international in scope, times of crisis can have a significant impact on students in a classroom. There are many possibilities for how to address a crisis in class, from activities that take only a moment to restructuring your entire course. This resource guide from Vanderbuilt University Center for Teaching offers some excellent options.
How do we teach when our world has been turned upside down by a death in the family, a serious health issue (either our own or that of a loved one), or some other private adversity? This article from Faculty Focus is based on interviews with teachers who have weathered crises, as well as mental health professionals, and outlines some general recommendations for both the person in crisis and their colleagues.
Organized into five sections representing overarching goals instructors may have for their classrooms, the topics covered in this article include: giving students opportunities to think and talk; encouraging, demanding, and actively managing the participation of all students; building an inclusive and fair classroom community for all students; monitoring behavior to cultivate divergent thinking; and, teaching all of the students in your classroom. Though written for biology instructors, these techniques are widely applicable in any educational setting.
Good teaching cannot be equated with technique. It comes from the integrity of the teacher, from his of her relation to subject and students, from the capricious chemistry of it all. A method that lights one class afire extinguishes another. An approach that bores one student changes another’s life. Parker Palmer shares his thoughts on the mystery of good teaching.