Tag Archives: superteaching

A superteacher’s perspective via What The Speak

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I’ve had teaching and superteaching on the brain for days now, and this week’s Creating Communication offerings only helped reinforce thoughts of all things pedagogy and superteaching. Alex Rister recently sat down with Bryan Kelly of What The Speak to share her insights on teaching presenting in the 21st century. If you know me, you know I am Alex’s “hype girl,” biggest fan, and superteacher bff. I am proud of her pursuit of her bliss, awesome communication, and am inspired by her work ethic and passion! As a superteacher, Alex shares with What the Speak viewers several important lessons about presenting in the 21st century:

1. Help students understand the importance of public speaking and effective communication from minute one

Whether she is teaching an introductory class or advanced class on presentation, Alex starts with why–she doesn’t throw her students into jargon and lecture. Instead, she gleans from them what matters about public speaking and engages them on a discussion how students can use these strong communication skills in every mode (online, in person, synchronous, asynchronous).

2. Understand your origins

Pamela Slim, in Body of Work, emphasizes that the first step to articulating your body of work and understanding how the diverse pieces of your life and experience fit in is to know your roots. In this podcast, Alex shares her roots with viewers and finds ways to thread her early experiences with her current passions and objectives.

3. The teachers who are memorable are the teachers who engage

Information doesn’t matter as much as inspiration. As a teacher, one of my biggest challenges and concerns is letting go of my responsibility to be the “mouthpiece for information.” Our job is not to spew information via lecture (though this is the stereotype of “teacher”); our job is to spark and facilitate learning–the student must guide and drive his or her own journey. Breaking out of the lecture model isn’t easy, but it is a necessary step in the journey towards better teaching and better presenting.

4. Great teachers ask questions and make changes

Tweaking is a way of life. It’s the practice of acknowledging challenges, pinpointing the sources of student problems, accepting your role in perpetuating problems, and then taking action that will create positive results for students. The best teachers look for the roots of a problem, find actionable solutions, put those solutions in practice, and then test those solutions against student performance.

Check out the rest of the interview here or by clicking the image above. If you haven’t check out Bryan’s podcast, you must start today; he speaks with all the top voices in presenting and communicating and brings you the insights of those who live, eat, and breathe public speaking!

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From Creating Communication: Duarte and Reynolds Inspire Another Class Overhaul

Check out Alex’s post on the Professional Communication and Presentation reboot I referred to earlier last week. Tomorrow, look for my post highlighting the five challenges we face in restructuring the course in 2014.

Creating Communication

Always interested in a good reading list, I was excited to see Garr Reynolds’ “10 Books for the 21st Century Presenter, Storyteller.”  His recommendations couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for my superteacher BFF, Chiara Ojeda, and for me.  As I mentioned earlier this week, an issue Chiara and I face is differentiating Public Speaking (our basic, freshman-level class) with Professional Communication and Presentation (our advanced, junior-level course).

With a recent overhaul of our Public Speaking online course and a focus on developing a new syllabus for the campus course, PSP is looking and feeling more solid in 2014 than it has in years.  Chiara and I decided to focus PCP both on campus and online on a visual resume project called the Professional Persona Project.  Presentation will be a major component of the course, still, but there will be even more of an emphasis on developing…

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April Goal Win: The Liberal Studies Round Table


The process of proposing, organizing, and launching the Liberal Studies round table initiative has been a learning experience and a real privilege. In the past few weeks, I’ve been able to collaborate with amazing English department folks, including the very talented “Team Unicorn”, a group of composition teachers who’ve embraced the cinematic approach to creating slides. Check out one example of a deck used in this group’s English composition online course:

I am pleased to say that the English department worked for the past month to plan and organize our session, and we were ready for our debut today. The presentations went smoothly and we had an awesome turn out. The first hour was devoted to a series of presentations on the topic of teaching personas (defining persona, applying persona to a collaborative online team of teachers, and using the student’s experience to mold the teacher’s persona). The rest of the workshop was devoted to discussion. I’d like to see stronger discussion in the future, and this I think is where my presence would have been best used.

I chose not to present in this workshop (except for providing our attendees with an agenda of the session). I think at this point, people expect me to present, but I wanted to give the floor to some of the English folks who don’t often get heard but have incredible ideas. Instead, I functioned as facilitator. One of my tasks was to create a basic set of slides to serve as welcome, transition, and closing visuals. As you can see, my obsession with The Noun Project continues:

Our welcome slide sets the tone for the session--connect, discover, collaborate.

Our welcome slide sets the tone for the session–connect, discover, collaborate.

Our agenda moved from a presentation on the concept of personas to specific examples/applications.

Our agenda moved from a presentation on the concept of personas to specific examples/applications.

Overall, I found the discussion of personas to be interesting and I know Alex and I gleaned some insights about how we can further work to create a positive relationship with our students. What’s your opinion on teacher personas online? Is it something you think about as an educator? What is your teaching persona?

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