University of Wisconsin Stout | Wisconsin's Polytechnic University
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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Group Presentations: Expanding Topics to Promote Engagement
Group Presentations: Student Satisfaction with Learning Process
Expanding Topics to Make Them More Relevant to Student's World
Mitch Sherman has been teaching at Stout for over 20 years. His responsibilities have included the following classes: Industrial Psychology; Management and Employee Rewards, Recruitment and Selection in Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Individual and Group Differences, General Psychology, and Diversity in the Workplace. His favorite class is Recruitment and Selection because it is very “hands on.”
As a 20-year teaching veteran, Mitch has tried a number of different strategies, but recently he has been using history and questions to help students “get it.” He posts questions on the course web page ahead of class time, and the students have to answer them before they come to class. The questions are based on history so students begin to understand how we got to where we are. For example, to prepare for a discussion of the Family Leave Act and government regulations, he asked students what the 14th and 15th amendments guaranteed slaves; or what “redemption” meant—in the south and during reconstruction. They were asked about Plessy vs. Ferguson and the events in Oxford, Mississippi. After the 2008 election, he asked how the outcome might affect how we view race and racial groups. Students have to look up information on the web and find out what happened, not just what resulted.
In class, using the socratic method, Mitch helps the students fill in the gaps and relate them to the topic of the day. He never lectures any more, just keeps asking questions. He might give them the concept and let them work with it, but he feels he achieves better rapport because everyone, him included, is working together. He is also willing to get irritated, use humor or act crazy, and admit he doesn’t know something.