Seeds of change: save time and be a fantastic teacher by making just one change

I made a change to my own teaching by introducing a student-led seminar for class participation, and this saved me time and made me a better teacher. Reflecting on my own small step makes me wonder what others are doing and how we can build and share these teaching ideas.

By Associate Professor Susanna Scarparo

How and why I made a small change

I had two problems: my students were not getting the skills to develop team-work and oral presentation skills; and I also did not like the way in which I was assigning the class participation mark.

I decided to change the class participation into a student-led seminar, where a group of 3 to 4 students was assigned a topic, and each group was responsible for leading a 50 minutes seminar each week.

Students came up with incredibly creative and visually stimulating presentations and they loved the fact that I made them responsible for a whole hour of class time.

How did this save me time?

This change saved me time because I did not have to spend hours sourcing visual material and learning how to edit it and integrate it into the technologies.

I also gave myself time and space to reflect on how the students were learning and observe how they were engaging with the material.

How did this make me a better teacher?

This new approach took me out of the ‘teacher' space and showed them that we can all learn from each other.

It gave me a chance to stop talking at/to students and start working with them, to subtly guide their learning, and I could find out what they find interesting and how they like to learn.

How to share teaching ideas, one at a time

I invite my colleagues to write a short post on their own profile, as I have done here, explaining a teaching idea that saved you time and made you a better teacher.

By ticking the “Teaching Ideas” Shared Topic on your post (remember to submit and save!) your post will join others in the same topic, and we can begin to build a picture of teaching innovation here at Monash.