NITOP this year was wonderful, as usual! The talks and posters were inspiring, and TNP team was all together for the first time! Here were my main take-away points from the conference.
1. There were a couple sessions I attended this year surrounding skills, specifically the skills students take away from coursework. These skills may be apparent to us, but this isn’t always the case for students. Tanya Martini mentioned in her concurrent session that students view experiences outside coursework as more valuable for developing skills.
How do we make them aware of these transferrable skills? Tanya said in her courses now, she spends much more in-class time on explaining the assignments including WHY they are important and HOW they are developing transferrable skills. She also has them do activities that help drive this point home.
I also participated in a PIE table that was having a similar discussion. Virginia Wickline shared that she has her students create a resume entry as an assignment. Students are forced to reflect on the skills they developed during the coursework and how they could apply to a job setting. Then the students get feedback on it!
Highlighting transferrable skills is something I want to work on in my future courses, and these talks were great inspiration!
2. David Daniel gave a very engaging talk, which was the final keynote address of NITOP, and he discussed faith-based vs. evidence-based teaching practices. The bottom line is that our faith or beliefs can guide our teaching practices, but our practices need to work. We need to demonstrate that these different techniques we prescribe to work in our classrooms. Note: I made that last sentence personal on purpose. Teaching is personally empirical; it is an interactive, complex, dynamic system, and what works for you may not work for someone else. Also, what works for you now may not work in a few years. Having faith in a teaching practice is perfectly fine, but having faith isn’t enough. We also need evidence demonstrating that the practice works in our classroom context.
3. I presented my first poster this year at NITOP, and I think it was my favorite poster presentation ever! Everyone who stopped by was very nice, and I got some great suggestions for how to move forward with the project! Thanks everyone! If you want to check out my poster, you can find it here.
These were my top three take-aways from NITOP, but I could have written about many more! Thanks for another great conference!
written by Jen Blush