Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Professional Development Circles

Join your peers in a Professional Development Circle to share ideas, discover new approaches to teaching and student learning, reduce your stress, and increase your success! Circles are led by a facilitator who will guide group discussion, arrange contacts with key individuals, and provide information about campus resources and opportunities. No registration is necessary.

Questions? Contact Dr. Julie-Ann McFann at (309) 438-5848 or at jmmcfan@ilstu.edu.

  • Early-Career Faculty Development Circle Transform Teaching icon Make Connections icon
  • Small Change, Big Impact Reading Community Transform Teaching icon
  • Future Professors Development Circle Transform Teaching icon Make Connections icon

CTLT’s Early-Career Faculty Circles offer instructors in their first three years of service at Illinois State a combination of professional development and peer support. Join us for a series of lively conversations about surviving and thriving in the academy.

Discussions for spring will be based on chapters from Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James M. Lang; however, there is no required reading to participate. Participants will receive a copy of the book and an executive summary of each chapter.

  • This group meets on select Wednesdays or Thursdays from noon to 1:00 p.m.
  • Sessions are held at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main Street.
  • No registration is necessary.

Topics for Spring 2019

What does “small teaching” look like?

Wednesday, January 16 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, January 17 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Study after study provides evidence that small teaching activities raise student performance on learning tasks by the equivalent of a full letter grade or higher. In this session we will explore what exactly do we mean by “small teaching activities?”

How can we promote understanding?

Wednesday, February 13 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, February 14 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Just because students are busily working away at tasks at their desks doesn’t mean they are learning anything. In this session we will examine what kinds of interactions, feedback, and cognitive activities are more likely to promote learning.

What is the crucial role that motivation and attitudes play in learning?

Wednesday, February 27 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, February 28 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Learners and teachers are more than collections of neural networks, or receptacles of information, or practitioners of cognitive skills. In this session, we will discuss how learners and teachers are fully realized human beings that need inspiration as much as, if not more than, they need knowledge and skills.

When the conclusion is really the beginning.

Wednesday, March 20 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, March 21 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Every decision, big or small, that you make as an instructor impacts the overall quality of your course. In this session, we will brainstorm ideas for small teaching strategies.

How can we help our students develop a rich body of knowledge?

Wednesday, April 3 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 • 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Cognitive science has shown that the sorts of skills that teachers want for their students requires foundational knowledge. In this session we will discuss how we can leverage small teaching strategies to help our students develop a more robust foundation of knowledge that enables them to think critically.

Teaching can be an isolating experience. This reading group, intended for those who have been teaching at Illinois State for more than four years, provides an opportunity for faculty to engage in discussions to encourage peer support, networking, and mentorship. Experience new confidence in yourself and your ability to teach!

During the Spring semester, we will be using Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate Into Any Course to Improve Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation by Saundra Yancy McGuire as the springboard for our conversations. Attend when you can – no registration is necessary. All sessions are held at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main St.

Thursday, January 24 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 7 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 21 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 28 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Explore pedagogical issues, effective and disruptive teaching strategies, and gain confidence in your ability to teach at the college level. This professional development circle helps graduate students to teach in the academy, whether they are currently teaching, working as a teaching assistant, or considering teaching as a career path. Share teaching tips, tricks, and get support from other future professors. Discussions for spring will be based on chapters from Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning by James M. Lang; however, there is no required reading to participate.

  • This group meets on select Friday from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
  • It is open to all graduate students currently teaching or planning to teach in the future.
  • Sessions are held at CTLT’s facility at 301 S. Main Street.
  • No registration necessary.

Topics for Spring 2019

What does “small teaching” look like?

Friday, January 18 • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Study after study provides evidence that small teaching activities raise student performance on learning tasks by the equivalent of a full letter grade or higher. In this session we will explore what exactly do we mean by “small teaching activities?”

How can we help our students develop a rich body of knowledge?

Friday, February 1 • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Cognitive science has shown that the sorts of skills that teachers want for their students requires foundational knowledge. In this session we will discuss how we can leverage small teaching strategies to help our students develop a more robust foundation of knowledge that enables them to think critically.

How can we promote understanding?

Friday, February 15 • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Just because students are busily working away at tasks at their desks doesn’t mean they are learning anything. In this session we will examine what kinds of interactions, feedback, and cognitive activities are more likely to promote learning.

What is the crucial role that motivation and attitudes play in learning?

Friday, March 1 • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Learners and teachers are more than collections of neural networks, or receptacles of information, or practitioners of cognitive skills. In this session, we will discuss how learners and teachers are fully realized human beings that need inspiration as much as, if not more than, they need knowledge and skills.

When the conclusion is really the beginning.

Friday, March 22 • 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Every decision, big or small, that you make as an instructor impacts the overall quality of your course. In this session, we will brainstorm ideas for small teaching strategies.


If you need a special accommodation to fully participate in an event, please contact the CTLT main desk at (309) 438-2542.

2019-02-01T09:54:16.257-06:00 2019