My transition to “teaching for learning” began with my students’ fear of chemistry at another institution of higher learning. As you can imagine, I received a lot of push back from students as a freshly-minted PhD.
Unfortunately, I did not have a support mechanism or group to help me navigate how to transition from being teaching-focused to being learning-focused. So I began to attend workshops at conferences, etc. and to introduce baby-steps into my practice.
I have had the fortune to have spent quite bit of my tenure at GC interacting with and co-teaching with education faculty, attending and learning about teaching and good pedagogy from my peers and at SOTL conferences that I attend, and by participating in learning experiences for K12 teachers. Trying some of these strategies is still a nervous experience especially as most of my coursework is with non-science majors. What has been toughest but most rewarding has been passing the control/accountability to students, which I must say, is still difficult at times…but I’m getting there slowly but surely.
What IC-bG has done is provide a network of faculty/staff that has helped to reduce the professional isolation that I experienced in my discipline when I first came to GC…the stepping out and trying something new and knowing that other colleagues were doing this as well and that it has value.
Most importantly, the student pushback has decreased…although the fear of chemistry/science is still there. But knowing that I am improving my practice helps to keep me trying to do better…