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Thursday, June 27, 2019

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Educators talk innovation


Keynote speaker Ken Bain talks to student during the “Fostering Deeper Learning” conference.  | Esteban Portillo /The Daily Cougar

Keynote speaker Ken Bain talks to student during the “Fostering Deeper Learning” conference. | Esteban Portillo /The Daily Cougar

Educators, staff, students, and local professionals gathered to discuss the future of teaching at the UH Center for Teaching Excellence “Fostering Deeper Learning” on Friday.

“The center’s ultimate goal is to garner student success,” said David Mazella, director of the UH Center for Teaching Excellence.

The conference began as a grass-roots movement encouraged by professors in various departments and levels at the University who wanted a forum to discuss different teaching methods, Mazella said.

“Khator’s Tier One push was a huge catalyst,” Mazella said.

University and citywide attendance increased by about 50 attendees from last year’s number of 250.

“The goal is to start thinking differently about education here as a University mission — not just for compliance, but to begin to see intellectual excitement about teaching,” Mazella said. “How does our pedagogy impact students?”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of the District of Columbia Ken Bain was a keynote speaker at the conference.

In his book, “What the Best College Teachers Do,” Bain addresses Mazella’s question directly.

Bain talked about how teachers can reach students in new ways and present information in innovative ways that better engage both the students and the educator, thus enhancing the entire learning experience for everyone involved.

“We want to create a ‘safe space’ for teachers to share information, problems and solutions in multi-disciplinary environments to get different viewpoints,” Mazella said.

However, Mazella said that these conferences are not punitive, but about a conceptual shift in teaching and the approach teachers take to communicating with their students.

This conference is about bringing together seasoned professors and newer teachers allowing one to benefit from the others energy or knowledge of the field and issues that are encountered Mazella said. In the end, the students benefit from this reciprocal relationship.

“Standard classes don’t do enough. What are we going to do?” Mazella said. “This event is part of the process.”

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