Staff Development

Out With the Old, In With the New

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987), The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

In his book Avatars of the Word, James Joseph O’Donnell speculates on what the real roles of educators will be in an information-rich world:
"[It will be] to advise, guide, and encourage students wading through the deep waters of the information flood. [Educators] will thrive as mentors, tutors, backseat drivers, and coaches. They will use the best skill they have… to nudge, push, and sometimes pull students through the educationally crucial tasks of processing information: analysis, problem solving, and synthesis of ideas. These are the heart of education, and these are the activities on which our time can best be spent." (O'Donnell, 1998, p. 156).

Image of a teacher helping students

Presentation Strategies

This is a huge discussion. I am only going to give you a few ideas that I have garnered through my exploration of this topic, then a few of the many links available. Hopefully, you will get as immersed in these websites as I have.

  • In addition to using your textbook, find supplemental sources of information and share them with students. Online resources are plentiful and can save a studen's life with information during a late night study session. Encourage audio books when possible. Karen Zeigler and I are available to demonstrate the wonder that is our Kurzweil 3000 software. Electronic text allows students to follow the text visually while hearing it read to them at various speeds with various voices. Students can highlight important information on the computer, have difficult words defined and annotate the text right on the computer by using electronic "sticky notes." This actually builds their word recognition. It is not cheating... it is the future and has meaning to present day learners.
  • When lecturing, prepare a few of your most important lectures with "guided notes." Do up a handout for students that has an outline of your lecture with spaces here and there to fill in. This way, students can attend better to the lecture because they don't have as much to write. An added bonus: if you tend to wander off topic, this handout keeps you on track as well.
  • Try the many interactive videos and PowerPoints online that explain topics in a different manner than you. Hearing it more than once benefits everyone.
  • Look into the Reading Apprenticeship program that has instructors learning to ask questions and probe for students understanding of reading material during or after it has been read.
  • Have students prepare a student summary report using the summary method demonstrated on the following link under section 1.2a. This link provides a very nice presentation on a myriad of instructional strategies. [Hint-use the arrows at the bottom as well as the prompts that the narrator provides.] It is called Universal Class Design.
  • Consider learning more about my new favorite thing "Metacognition" as a learning tool. An example is what has been termed an "Exam Post-mortem." With this exercise, students can redeem missed points on an exam by submitting an "analysis" of what they did wrong, how they misunderstood a direction, what topic they didn't fully learn and of course, what they are going to do differently in the future.
  • Finally, I have included a link to a strategy called "Name It, Xplain It, Frame It, Game It." This San Jose State University instructor demonstrates how the same lesson can be presented 4 different ways, with each way representing a different type of learning style:


However, he is using definitions of learning style that he adapted from what looks to be the Myers Brigg Type Inventory. Watch each number around the clock in order. The student comments (VII) were very revealing.

Link: Name It, Xplain It, Frame It, Game It

Next: Expression

Professional Development

Howard Blumenfeld
Professional Development Coordinator


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Page last modified: February 26, 2014