Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pedagogy across Disciplines: Imagining and Delivering the Possibilities

extend an invitation to the university community to participate in a conference on

Pedagogy across Disciplines: Imagining and Delivering the Possibilities
April 11, 2008
Kean University
Downs Hall

The Conference on Curriculum and Pedagogy run by the Tenure Track Faculty Network at Kean University invites your participation in a conference that will focus on how learning works in a variety of contexts and how understanding these processes enables us to facilitate active student engagement in classrooms across disciplines. We will use this event as an opportunity to consider how we can build bridges across and within disciplines, between schools and colleges, and from our classrooms to the real world through conversations about what we mean by learning. Several fundamental themes and questions will be used to guide and encourage dialogue about learners and learning and approaches for effective pedagogy:

Content Literacy: How do we help students to acquire strong language and literacy skills across content areas?

Real Connections: How do we connect content to real-world challenges and the kinds of learning students need for life and work?

Interactive Learning: How do we utilize dialogue, collaboration, cooperative learning, and other interactive activities in our classes?

Higher-Level Thinking: How do we explore strategies and structures for college learning that promote higher-level intellectual and practical skills?

Participants will be given an opportunity to experience activities that promote teaching and learning through small group work, discipline-based literacy tasks, text to student connections, tasks based on problem-solving and complex understandings, and the use of dialogue as a tool for acquiring content knowledge.


Dr. John Mayher, renowned author, and distinguished professor at NYU’s Steinhart School of Educations has published extensively on topics such as using writing to learn, teachers as researchers, re-interpreting the roles of teachers, curriculum reform in education, and the use of student-centered pedagogies. His most recent book, Teaching English today: Advocating change in the English curriculum, was published in 2004 by Teachers College Press. In addition, in 2006 he published an article in Language Arts with Nancy Atwell titled, Frank Smith: Visions of the possibilities. In 1990 he won the Russell Award for Distinguished Research for his ground breaking text Uncommon Sense: Theoretical Practice in Language Education and in 1998 he won both the Distinguished Service Award from The National Council of Teachers of English and the Distinguished Teaching Medal from New York University.

Conference Schedule:

8:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome
9:15-10:00 Keynote
10:00-10:30 Workshop Presenters’ Responses to Keynote
10:30-11:00 Audience Discussion
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-1:00 Break Out Sessions
  • Writing Across the Curriculum
  • Possibility Based Learning
  • Case Studies
  • Technology in Education
  • Content Learning and Language Acquisition
  • Peer Led Team Learning
  • Software

1:00-200 Lunch - Summaries and Reflections


Please complete our online registration by April 2, 2008

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Session descriptions:

Writing Across the Curriculum

Not Just the English Department's Job: Integrating Writing Across the Curriculum

The Writing Across the Curriculum movement has shown that writing is an extremely powerful means of helping students analyze, synthesize, and retain information. Many professors, however, worry they cannot effectively teach writing, especially in courses that require covering a lot of information. This hands-on session will respond to these concerns by offering strategies for integrating writing into any course, with an emphasis on the practical aspects of assigning, coaching, and evaluating student work. Handouts will be provided with examples of informal and formal writing assignments, as well as a bibliography of resources.

Facilitator: Dr. Mark Sutton,

English Department

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Possibility Based Learning "Hands On, Minds Open!"

Current educational research emphasizes the need to impart content knowledge while also stimulating higher order forms of intellectual operation such as creative idea formation and the propensity to explore and discover in ways that do not always lead to predetermined solutions or "right" answers. The artistic process naturally embodies this global form of intellectual engagement by integrating sensory, emotional, kinesthetic, and cognitive ways of knowing. This workshop offers a brief introduction followed by a hands-on experience in which participants engage in art making using accessible materials as conduits to creative thinking and original idea formation. A follow-up dialogue will stimulate thought about pedagogical applications to writing, literacy, science, social studies and/or other subject areas. No previous artistic experience required. Dress comfortably.

Facilitator: Dr. Joseph S. Amorino,

Art Education Program Coordinator; Department of Fine Arts

School of Visual and Performing Arts

Problem & Project Based Learning "You're Getting Warmer!"

Problem & Project Based Learning concepts and methods, applied to understanding thermal variations locally and on a larger scale, are considered with regard to appropriate measurements and observational strategies for science and non-science majors. These are provided in context of real-world applications to promote higher level thinking skills and to understand underlying concepts and system behaviors. Session includes self-guided and group inquiry, interactive sharing and discussion for collaborative and cooperative learning, and use of hand-held sensors. Methods, course structure, and logistics are highlighted that provide content, context, motivation, outcomes, and assessment of learning. Alternative techniques and applications are also considered.

Facilitator: Dr. Paul J. Croft,

Department of Geology & Meteorology

College of Natural, Applied, & Health Sciences

Case Studies

In order for teachers to comply with the National Inquiry Standards for Education, teachers need to introduce students to inquiry-based problems in the classroom where they can practice these skills for real-world challenges, either in open-ended problems or assignments that have specific solutions. The components of inquiry-based instruction can be learned through the use of case studies. Case studies that link discipline-related concepts with relevant interdisciplinary issues demonstrate this teaching method when teaching current units in the inquiry-based classroom. Participants will practice inquiry¬ based skills with interdisciplinary case studies and receive current literature on the informal case study presentation method.(99 words)

Facilitator: Dr. Patrick R. Field,

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences

"Best Practice" Digital Writing Tools for Learning: Wikis, Weblogsand Google Docs

This presentation will introduce three key digital-age writingtools and show how they can be "best practice" tools for learning: (1)how they engage students in developing a sense of audience, purpose,and identity in their writing, and (2) how they promote criticalreading, writing, and thinking skills by having students respond toclassmates and readings, and reflect on the discrepancies betweendifferent positions. Participants will be given a list of resourcesfor setting up wikis and weblogs and for using them in the classroom.

Co-Facilitators: Dr. Charles Nelson,

Assistant Professor, Department of English

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Dina Rosen,

Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood

College of Education

Deciphering Cultures

Several key elements are necessary to foster deeper learning: motivation, learner activity, interaction with others and strong knowledge base. This session uses an experiential exercise to demonstrate how these objectives can be met in the international business context, and more specifically, in the area of cross cultural understanding. The exercise is used to facilitate discussion and multiple viewpoints and to engage participants in t activity. Since cooperative and interactive learning are central components of the learning process, it is expected that exercises such as this can serve as effective learning tools.

Facilitator: Dr. Gladys Torres-Baumgarten,

Assistant Professor, Management Department

College of Business and Public Administration

Peer Led Team Learning

Faculty will participate in a workshop describing and utilizing the Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) Model. PLTL provides a structure for faculty to work with student peer leaders, tutors and mentors to improve student achievement in targeted classes. The structure focuses on facilitating student learning in groups by using problems that provide multiple solutions. While the model has been most successful in science classes, we have conducted pilot studies in other areas. The pilot work is funded by the Espilon Corps grant.

Facilitator: Dr. John Dobosiewicz,

Department of Geology & Meteorology

Epsilon Corp

College of Natural, Applied, & Health Sciences

Students Answering Their Own Research Questions on Civic and Global Chemical Issues

POGIL (Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) classroom activities focused upon chemical principles, global issues and research skills provide an excellent foundation for developing in students the skills, confidence and comfort with scientific content to pursue independent literature projects on global and civic concerns. Being able to answer a chemical question of their own making transforms the students' perceptions of their own abilities and of the accessibility of science in their lives.
A discussion of course structure, an examination of the pedagogy in classroom activities, and a summary of results will demonstrate the potential for rigorous accomplishment in a totally interactive classroom. The methods used are applicable to a wide variety of academic disciplines.

Facilitator: Dr. A. Bryan Lees,

Chemistry-Physics Department

College of Natural, Applied and Health Sciences

How to Increase Comprehension of Content Area Texts

Many Kean University and New Jersey school students come from other countries and non-English language backgrounds. In this presentation, we will explore how to support their comprehension of difficult informational topics that they read in a language that is not their first language. Sharing experiences and discussing suggestions, we will come up with strategies to enhance these students’ comprehension of content area texts.

Facilitator: Dr. Ana Mistral

Elementary, Middle and Secondary Education

College of Education