Book Review: Small Changes in Teaching

Langby Sandy Gambill, Sr. Instructional Developer, Reinert Center

Often when we think about course design or learning new teaching practices, it’s easy to become paralyzed by the seemingly enormous task. That’s why the recent James M. Lang series on Small Changes in Teaching in the Chronicle of Higher Education is compelling as a reminder that sometimes minor adjustments can make a world of difference. The Chronicle series is drawn from Lang’s recent book on the same topic.

In the series, Lang draws on current educational research to inform suggestions about practices ranging from changing what you’re doing the first and last five minutes of class  to specific strategies for helping students make connections between course material and the real world.

For example, think about what typically happens in the last five minutes of a class period. When do students begin leave taking behavior (packing up, looking at the clock, whispering?) Are you rushing to finish everything you needed to say that day? What would happen if you set an alarm to end five minutes early so you could review and summarize the day’s content?

Interested in discussing how you might utilize some of these techniques in your own teaching? We are here all summer at the Reinert Center and would love to meet with you. You can complete our form to request a consultation or call us at 314-977-3944.