Book Club: Small Teaching
Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning, by James Lang
We use the three sections of this book to structure our discussions. Before each meeting, we ask each participant to reflect on what they are learning from the book and how they have implemented, or plan to implement, new strategies.
Discussion series goals
The goal of these meetings is for each participant to find strategies that they can implement. The book has many practical recommendations.
Structure and format
This book has 3 parts, so we structure our discussion series accordingly, with one session for each section of the book:
- Part I: Knowledge: Retrieving, Predicting, and Interleaving
- Part II: Understanding: Connecting, Practicing, and Self-Explaining
- Part III: Inspiration: Motivating, Growing, and Expanding
Before each meeting:
Each participant reflects on these two questions, which serve as the basis for the discussion:
- What have you tried in your teaching this past week that you have not done before and that was inspired by the reading?
- What are you planning to try in your teaching, that you have not done before and that was inspired by the reading?
During each meeting:
Participants share what they have done or plan to do with respect to the strategies described in the reading for that session. For example, during the first meeting, participants talk about activities where students practice retrieval or prediction, or about how they interleave geoscience topics in their courses.
We had three synchronous sessions for this book club, with the meetings at one-week intervals. Longer intervals between meetings would allow more time for participants to implement new strategies.
James Lang's Small Changes in Teaching articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education