type of teaching that works best for you and your students depends on
complex combinations of many factors: requirements of your discipline,
your personality, your goals, the class size, the instructional materials
you choose, and the response of your students, including their diverse
levels of intellectual and cognitive development. This chapter first summarizes
research on students' cognitive development, offering examples of predictable
student reactions to new information and perspectives, as well as ways
to help students grow intellectually. The majority of the chapter details
suggestions about individual teaching methods from experienced U.Va. instructors.
sake of clarity, most sections are written as though you were teaching
the entire class with the described method, but you can effectively mix
methodologies. We encourage you to experiment: How about adding mini-lectures
to a discussion of historical documents, for instance, in order to offer
new perspectives or useful background information? Could you ask students
to solve a problem on your web site during class? Why not encourage students
to discuss solutions to a problem during lab? What would happen if you
brought a case to a discussion where you usually analyze primary texts?
Why not have students solve a problem or share ideas during a lecture,
even if you have a hundred students? Varying your techniques will motivate
and interest students, promote development of their critical thinking
skills, and help you remain excited about teaching material you know very
the most from this chapter, consider suggestions in the context of your
course, referring to other handbook sections as recommended. In order
to avoid repetition, we have placed general advice, such as teaching the
first day of class, in the relevant handbook section.
students to new and challenging methods of examining that which
they have come to understand as familiar prompts them to question their
implicit assumptions about the world.