Here Comes the Fall
Welcome to Week Seven of Once More, With Feeling.
BE THE SPARK - Thoughts on Teaching and Learning
This week I had the honor of joining The Chronicle of Higher Education’s senior writer Beckie Supiano, Regan Gurung of Oregon State University, and Lisa George of Mount Hood Community College to talk about how to support students in their learning this fall.
There were some wonderful ideas shared by the panelists and attendees alike.
Here I highlight just a few of my favorite ones:
Students are going to be looking to us for reassurance, and we all agreed that a lot of the work in the first week or so on campus and in the classroom is going to need to be focused on assurances that no matter what the pandemic throws at us, we’ll be able to adapt. Many second year students on residential campuses are really going to be like first year students, and student affairs and student success offices on most campuses are already working hard to make sure that the adjustment to campus living goes well. In our classrooms we can do our best to continue these efforts.
Regan shared a wonderful framework for this fall - he calls it CCOMFE. He originally developed it as an approach to thinking about remote teaching (see below) but it is easily adapted to all forms of teaching, which he details in this great blog post - Getting CCOMFE for the Long Road Ahead.
Regan and his team at Oregon State University Center for Teaching and Learning have also developed a flow chart for thinking about how to handle students moving in and out of face-to-face classrooms due to positive COVID tests or quarantines:
And finally, from the MIT Teaching & Learning Lab (thanks for the hat tip, Ruthann Thomas), some excellent guidance and resources for teaching with masks. Personally I’ll be spending my evening testing out this microphone and amplification approach suggested by the great Tom Tobin.
HIVEMIND - On Social Neuroscience & Our Synchronous Selves
The UK version of HIVEMIND has gone paperback - get yours here!
Hivemind: A collective consciousness in which we share consensus thoughts, emotions, and opinions; a phenomenon whereby a group of people function as if with a single mind.
Leading a narrative journey from the site of the Charlottesville riots to the boardrooms of Facebook, considering such diverse topics as zombies, neuroscience, and honeybees, psychologist and emotion regulation specialist Sarah Rose Cavanagh leaves no stone unturned in her quest to understand how social technology is reshaping the way we socialize. It’s not possible to turn back the clocks, and Cavanagh argues that there’s no need to; instead, she presents a fully examined and thoughtful call to cut through our online polarization, dial back our moral panic about screens and mental health, and shore up our sense of community. With compelling storytelling and shocking research, Hivemind is a must-read for anyone hoping to make sense of the dissonance around us.
OUR MONSTERS, OUR SELVES - Uncertainty, Challenges, Mental Health
Last week I joined Augustana College for an interactive keynote on crafting learning environments that support student mental health. I always say that I take more from the table at these events than I bring it, and this event was no exception.
In a discussion about the difficulties our students faced during the last year and a half, a faculty member raised an excellent point. Namely, that the upheaval of this period of time didn’t just have implications for the stress and emotions students were feeling, but it also meant that they had to relearn how to motivate themselves, manage their time, and cope. So many of the motivational and coping strategies they had used in the past likely involved social engagements like study groups, changing one’s physical environment by going to the library or tutoring center, or dropping by an instructor’s office to chat. During the last year and a half, they had to develop and lean on new strategies.
And as we peer into the fall, they’ll have to adapt again—blending the two strategies, or pivoting between them as modalities shift and quarantines come and go.
We talk quite a lot about how burdensome these constant flips between modalities are on instructors—but it is important to remember to what degree students are in flux too.
Speaking of motivation…
EMOTION & MOTIVATION - Feeling and Striving
A major article I’ll be reading this week for both my emotion and motivation text and for my book on student mental health, David Barlow and colleagues have published a Current Directions in Psychological Science review paper on a model for thinking about trait neuroticism and vulnerability for disorders of emotion. You can find it here.
INCIDENTALLY - TikTok Tunes
In case you don’t have a teenager who curates for you the cutest animal TikToks, the title of this post (Here Comes the Fall) should be read to the tune of the viral “Here Comes the Boy” trend.
Warning: it might get stuck in your head and end up influencing something you are writing.
If you like what you read, feel free to like the post, share, or tell your friends. I can also be found at @SaRoseCav on Twitter and @SarahRoseHIVE on Instagram. You could also always give one of my books a whirl!