The Precious First Day of Class

by Lisa Sheldon
August 27, 2015

Much has been written about the first day of class and its power set the tone for an entire semester. The potential of this day is both mythic and magical. The first feelings we create about our course, ourselves and the classroom community leaves a deep impression on students. Faculty performance on the first day […]

The Teaching Marathon: Training and Re-Training

by Lisa Sheldon
April 20, 2015
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Teaching is like training for a marathon. Just as the runner is trying to get stronger and faster, the teacher is looking to communicate better and increase what students learn. There are the hours of practice and preparation, trying new techniques and tools and figuring out what to do when things go wrong. And, things […]

Great Student Expectations: A Guide for Faculty

by Lisa Sheldon
March 9, 2015
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Students come to courses with certain baseline expectations of faculty. Chief among these according to Blue Ridge Community College are: Providing opportunities to learn Acting with professionalism Grading fairly and returning work promptly Being accessible to students Communicating in a timely and professional manner At the community college level, we must also be respectful of […]

Embrace Civility in the Classroom

by Lisa Sheldon
February 18, 2015

Teaching is a demanding task. Challenges arise at every turn, which makes it an engaging and dynamic occupation. In addition to worrying about content and learning in our classrooms, we also need to be concerned with classroom dynamics and the erosion of civility. When it comes to promoting classroom etiquette and respect, instructors need to […]

In Praise of Encouragement

by Lisa Sheldon
December 10, 2014

There is a fundamental difference between praise and encouragement. This is a distinction to keep in mind as we wrap up the semester and provide students with feedback on their learning. We want our students to reflect on their learning in ways that move them toward their next goal—we need to do that, too. We […]

Fall Semester at GCC: Welcome back!

by Lisa Sheldon
August 18, 2014
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As we start making plans for our classes and our students, we have to admire how much has changed in a few short months. During the summer GCC has been thriving, growing and moving in exciting directions. The commitment to students, staff, faculty and the community remains strong, but the tools that allow us to […]

Spring Semester: Let’s Get Started!

by Lisa Sheldon
January 14, 2014

What an electrifying time of year— a new year and the start of a new semester! The next two weeks are sure to be filled with excitement and questions. Don’t worry! There are many resources to help you be successful in the classroom, with your advisees and colleagues. Maybe you are teaching a new course […]

Creating a Rubric: The why and how…

by Lisa Sheldon
November 18, 2013
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Creating an effective rubric can seem daunting, but is well worth the effort and will save time grading. Grading rubrics are valuable tools for both instructors and students not only for grading purposes, but also as a tool to communicate expectations about skills and information mastery. Sharing student learning goals and how these will be […]

Education News: Retention and Degree Completion

by Lisa Sheldon
August 20, 2013
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In a new report with national implications for public higher education, the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) found that just 17 percent of the full-time students who entered one of the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts in 2003 earned a degree or certificate by 2010. Read more… This is not a problem unique to Massachusetts, look […]

Communication and Writing Resources

by admin
June 20, 2013

Using Motivational Interviewing to Communicate with Students Teachers and advisors who use motivational interviewing (MI) enhance their listening and problem-solving skills to become more effective communicators and create better rapport with students. MI has been shown as an effective method for creating dialogue, rapport and ultimately helping to motivate students. Following specific techniques and a […]