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Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students

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Written by: Lindsay Murphy

On Tuesday September 21, CTRL hosted the first of this academic year’s noontime conversations., “Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students.” Discussing student classroom behaviors that may be disruptive or indicative of a problem, panelists shared productive ways to de-escalate tense moments and how to access additional campus support for students who may be in crisis. The full presentation was recorded and can be viewed below. The panel’s PowerPoint presentation provides suggestions and key contacts as well.


Lindsay Murphy is the Coordinator of Faculty Technology Initiatives in CTRL.

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Creating an Inclusive Classroom for Introverts, Ambiverts, and Extroverts

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #302:

This panel of faculty and students discusses strategies for making the classroom inclusive to introverts (as well as ambiverts and extroverts). Traditionally in the college classroom, all students, regardless of where they fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, are expected to present themselves as extroverts if they are to excel in the classroom. Given that nearly half of college students fall on the introvert side of the spectrum, are these students being well served? Although introverts can recognize that they can gain from participating as if extroverts, faculty (many of whom are introverts themselves) may be missing opportunities to meet the unique needs of introverts with a more open and innovative approach to class participation (perhaps with the help of technology) and to use the unique contributions introverts are capable of providing.

Kelly Joyner (CAS-LIT)
Arielle Bernstein (CAS-LIT)
Lee Alan Bleyer(CAS-LIT)
Madelyn Daigle (Class of 2016)
Leah Johnson (CAS-LIT)
Brittany Jones (Class of 2018)

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Pedagogical Strategies for Fostering Inclusivity that Radiates beyond the Classroom

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #201:

One of the primary duties of a faculty member is to facilitate in-class discussions that are engaging, intellectually challenging, and inclusive. However, establishing and maintaining an environment in which students can express their ideas without fear of retribution or ostracization can be challenging. This session offers strategies for leading in-class discussions that are mindful of power, privilege, and racial, ethnic, gender and cultural considerations. The panel will debunk the myth that some courses are neutral by exploring how faculty members across the campus are managing in-class discussions and addressing so-called hidden curriculum—without neglecting the core subject matter they teach. Importantly, while in-class discussions ostensibly end when class periods do, the most impactful discussions have lasting effects on students, who walk out the door exhilarated and impassioned. By leading by example, faculty members can do their parts to ensure student discourse outside of the classroom is civil and inclusive.

Michael Moreno (CAS-LIT)
Fanta Aw (OCL & SIS)
Briana Weadock (SPA)
Amanda Taylor (SIS)
David Curtiss (Class of 2018)

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Supporting Student Engagement and Risk-Taking in the Classroom

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #109:

In this session panelists will share how they create a classroom environment that connects students to each other and where students feel safe and supported, and as a consequence, are willing to take risks and be vulnerable. This strategy is used in two Executive Masters Programs at AU, as one way to continuously search for creative ways to prepare students for the increasing demands of leading in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. This approach to developing students who are not only leaders, consultants and entrepreneurs, but are also able to deal with multiple demands and uncertainty, can be useful in multiple classroom settings, including undergraduate classes over the course of a semester. The panelists will share their strategies, including group development and trust building in the classroom. Participants will have an opportunity to engage in a brief exercise as an example of experiential learning design.

Ruth Scogna Wagner (SPA-PUAD)
Patrick Malone (SPA-PUAD)

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Using Mindfulness to Promote Well-being

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #103:

With 91% of AU students reporting feeling overwhelmed, 68% feeling very sad, and 56% experiencing overwhelming anxiety, innovative tools are urgently needed to manage stress and improve the mental health and well-being among college students. This workshop provides a hands-on experience with mindfulness tools to enhance student engagement, improve mental health, and promote an optimal learning environment. Mindfulness can increase productivity by cultivating increased attention, engagement, and focus while also lowering stress. The session discusses why AU-based data provides a call to action to better serve our students as whole individuals. It also reviews the evidence that supports the beneficial effects of mindfulness on mental health, attention, and overall well-being. Participants consider how mindfulness tools may be integrated into existing curricula to enhance the learning environment in classroom settings across many disciplines and departments.

Thomas Nassif (CAS-DHS)
Elissa Margolin (CAS-DHS)

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The Role of Learning Styles for Inclusive Teaching

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #102:

This session addresses the methods used to convey your curriculum to students, from required readings, exams, presentations to online videos and any interactive software/hardware. The session provides a discussion of different methods by implementing Universal Design when creating your curriculum. Participants should reflect on their role in creating accessible content. This begins by addressing key questions such as: Have you thought about your teaching style—visual, auditory/musical, kinesthetic/physical, combination, solitary, social, logical/mathematical? This exploration can result in finding pathways to work together, broadening our “reach” to diverse learners.

Alisa Louther (Academic Support & Access Center)

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