OTL Book Club

Fall 2022 Office of Teaching and Learning Book Club

 

Image of "Infusing Critical Thinking Into Your Course" Cover

This Fall, the OTL Book Club will read and discuss Infusing Critical Thinking Into Your Course: A Concrete, Practical Approach (Nilson, 2021). The University of Guelph’s five Undergraduate Learning Outcomes include Critical and Creative Thinking, defined as “a concept in which one applies logical principles, after much inquiry and analysis, to solve problems with a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking and risk taking.”

Critical thinking skills are important in all disciplines, but it can be difficult to teach and assess these skills. Infusing Critical Thinking Into Your Course provides actionable suggestions to help you write clear learning outcomes related to critical thinking, engage your students using effective teaching strategies, and accurately assess your students’ critical thinking skills. 

 

By the end of the book, readers should be able to:

  • explain what critical thinking is in simple terms;
  • explain to students why it is important for them to learn critical thinking, and, if they tune out, what they stand to lose;
  • overcome the challenges that teaching critical thinking presents;
  • identify the type of course content to which critical thinking can be applied and, therefore, that readers can use to teach critical thinking;
  • integrate critical thinking into the design of a new or existing course in any discipline;
  • write assessable critical thinking learning outcomes that are compatible with and make sense in any discipline;
  • select and adapt activities and assignments that will give students no- or low-stakes practice with feedback in critical thinking using a variety of questions, tasks, and teaching methods

 

Who Can Participate?

Book Club members will meet six times via Microsoft Teams during the Fall semester. Book club members can also participate asynchronously through discussions and sharing resources to the Teams site.

Book Club Dates and Times:

Date Time Chapters to Discuss
September 14, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm Introductions and community building
September 28, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm 1, 2, 3
October 19, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm 4, 5, 6
November 9, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm 7, 8, 9
November 30, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm 10, 11, 12
December 14, 2022 10:30am – 12:00pm Reflections on the book and discussion of how you may implement the strategies into your teaching

Registering for the Book Club

To register for the book club, please email otl@uoguelph.ca by Friday September 9th. Space is limited, so please register only if you can commit to reading the book and attending the synchronous discussion sessions.

Accessing the Book

Digital copies of Infusing Critical Thinking into Your Course are available to borrow from the McLaughlin Library.


Previous Book Clubs

Image of The Spark of Learning Book Cover

About Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit

"Drawing on treaties, international law, the work of other Indigenous scholars, and especially personal experiences, Marie Battiste documents the nature of Eurocentric models of education, and their devastating impacts on Indigenous knowledge. Chronicling the negative consequences of forced assimilation and the failure of current educational policies to bolster the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal populations, Battiste proposes a new model of education. She argues that the preservation of Aboriginal knowledge is an Aboriginal right and a right preserved by the many treaties with First Nations. Current educational policies must undergo substantive reform. Central to this process is the rejection of the racism inherent to colonial systems of education, and the repositioning of Indigenous humanities, sciences, and languages as vital fields of knowledge. Battiste suggests the urgency for this reform lies in the social, technological, and economic challenges facing society today, and the need for a revitalized knowledge system which incorporates both Indigenous and Eurocentric thinking. The new model she advocates is based on her experiences growing up in a Mi’kmaw community, and the decades she has spent as a teacher, activist, and university scholar." Publisher's description

If you are interested in learning a bit more about each chapter before committing, we recommend the following chapter-by-chapter review section in this resource written by Mandy Krahn (University of Alberta). 

During the Fall 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching (Eyler, 2018). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of How Humans Learn and discuss their thoughts or share experiences from their classes.

A picture of the book "How Humans Learn"

About How Humans Learn

Even on good days, teaching is a challenging profession. One way to make the job of college instructors easier, however, is to know more about the ways students learn. How Humans Learn aims to do just that by peering behind the curtain and surveying research in fields as diverse as developmental psychology, anthropology, and cognitive neuroscience for insight into the science behind learning.

The result is a story that ranges from investigations of the evolutionary record to studies of infants discovering the world for the first time, and from a look into how our brains respond to fear to a reckoning with the importance of gestures and language. Joshua R. Eyler identifies five broad themes running through recent scientific inquiry-curiosity, sociality, emotion, authenticity, and failure-devoting a chapter to each and providing practical takeaways for busy teachers. He also interviews and observes college instructors across the country, placing theoretical insight in dialogue with classroom experience.

During the Summer 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto (Gannon, 2020). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of Radical Hope and discuss their thoughts or share experiences from their classes.

Image of The Spark of Learning Book Cover

About Radical Hope

From the publisher: Higher education has seen better days. Harsh budget cuts, the precarious nature of employment in college teaching, and political hostility to the entire enterprise of education have made for an increasingly fraught landscape. Radical Hope is an ambitious response to this state of affairs, at once political and practical—the work of an activist, teacher, and public intellectual grappling with some of the most pressing topics at the intersection of higher education and social justice.

Kevin Gannon asks that the contemporary university’s manifold problems be approached as opportunities for critical engagement, arguing that, when done effectively, teaching is by definition emancipatory and hopeful. Considering individual pedagogical practice, the students who are the primary audience and beneficiaries of teaching, and the institutions and systems within which teaching occurs, Radical Hope surveys the field, tackling everything from impostor syndrome to cell phones in class to allegations of a campus “free speech crisis.” Throughout, Gannon translates ideals into tangible strategies and practices (including key takeaways at the conclusion of each chapter), with the goal of reclaiming teachers’ essential role in the discourse of higher education.

During the Winter 2021 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (Cavanagh, S., 2016). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of one or two chapters of The Sparking of Learning and discuss your thoughts, questions or share experiences from their own classes.

Image of The Spark of Learning Book Cover

About The Spark of Learning

Historically we have constructed our classrooms with the assumption that learning is a dry, staid affair best conducted in quiet tones and ruled by an unemotional consideration of the facts. The field of education, however, is beginning to awaken to the potential power of emotions to fuel learning, informed by contributions from psychology and neuroscience. In friendly, readable prose, Sarah Rose Cavanagh argues that if you as an educator want to capture your students' attention, harness their working memory, bolster their long-term retention, and enhance their motivation, you should consider the emotional impact of your teaching style and course design. To make this argument, she brings to bear a wide range of evidence from the study of education, psychology, and neuroscience, and she provides practical examples of successful classroom activities from a variety of disciplines in secondary and higher education.

During the Fall 2020 semester, the Office of Teaching and Learning will be hosting a virtual book club to discuss Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes (Darby & Lang, 2019). Book club discussions are open to all University of Guelph faculty and instructional staff (including sessionals). At each meeting, book club members will take part in a facilitated discussion of two chapters of Small Teaching Online and discuss approaches they might consider or share experiences from their own classes.

Image of Small Teaching Online Book Cover

About Small Teaching Online

Small Teaching Online offers concrete strategies that instructors can implement in their classrooms to improve student learning. The authors ground their suggestions in the learning sciences literature. The concept of “small teaching” encourages instructors to make small but effective changes to their courses that can improve the student experience.

Contact Us

 

E-mail the Office of Teaching and Learning (otl@uoguelph.ca) with any questions related to your teaching and learning needs.