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Teacher's Corner

Teaching tips from the Teacher's Aide Newsletter.

2012 December

From the 2012 Dec issue.

Holiday Spirit

Get into the holiday spirit by paying homage to the people that have shaped your profession. Have students identify the key people who have impacted the profession and describe what they've contributed.

Follow this up with an activity where the students acknowledge the people in their lives that have gone out of their way to support them in their schooling (e.g., specific teachers, staff members, family and friends).

2012 October

From the 2012 Oct issue.

Encourage Students to do Assigned Reading

This tip is adapted from a post by Alice Cassidy, PhD, in Faculty Focus, May 23, 2011.

Help ensure students do the assigned reading by requiring an "entry ticket" to the next class. Give students three index cards each with a different question on the reading. Students must bring the cards to the following class as their "ticket" to get in, and you can use what they've written on the cards to help guide the class discussion.

2012 September

From the 2012 Sep issue.

Capturing Online Photos

Make sure that the pictures and graphics you use are truly open source. Many people type in a search engine, such as Bing, and think that all those images are freely available. Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case. Sometimes it's obvious, as when there is a watermark copyright symbol on the image; most images are not royalty-free. You must get permission before you copy. There are numerous open source images available, although the search options for those images tend to be rather limited.

Wikimedia Commons is an example of a site that has 13 million images, yet only 9 on massage, 5 on acupuncture, and 142 on yoga.

Please share your favorite open source sites.

2012 August

From the 2012 Aug issue.

The R2 A2 of Effectiveness

2012 July

From the 2012 Summer (Jul) issue.

Use Social Media to Improve Students' Job Prospects

Teaching students how to use social media to improve their job prospects can be extremely valuable. Explain the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile and show students how to create one. By the way, this could be a great homework assignment. Discuss how to find a job through other platforms, such as Twitter (and cover who to follow and why).

2012 June

From the 2012 June issue.

Make Sure Your Slides are Visible

In the August 2010 Teacher's Aide Newsletter we posted the following book as a resource: slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentation.

Jan Schwartz, M.A., co-owner of Education and Training Solutions, highly recommends this book and provides us with some tips from it:

  1. First measure your computer screen. I'll use mine as an example which is a 17-inch MacBook. Then I pull up a slide—in slide show mode—which has text on it and step back (measure) 17 feet. If I can read the screen, I'm good. If I can't then the people in the back of the room can't read it either.
  2. Another trick is to put your slides in sorter mode and reduce the size to 66%. If you can't read it then the font is too small and your audience can't read it either.
  3. Of course you always want to check out the slides in the real venue by walking to the back of the room to be sure you can see and read the slides easily.

2012 May

From the 2012 May issue.

Copyright Etiquette

Place a citation at the bottom of your PowerPoint slides (or handouts) that reference the textbook where the materials were obtained. Do this even if the book is a required text in your course. Ideally include a page number if you use a direct quote, table, or definition from the text.

2012 April

From the 2012 Apr issue.

Online Courses

Grab your students' attention when teaching an online course by incorporating video posts. Video posts are casual in nature, so you don't have to worry about being a brilliant film director or editor. You can summarize the key points of a class lesson or module, interview students about a topic, or interview an expert about the topic (see May 2011 TA for resources on online video).

2012 February

From the 2012 Feb issue.

List Randomizer

Do you ever assign class presentations? Deciding who goes first can be challenging. Consider using an online list randomizer that arranges the items of a list in random order.

Random.org claims to have a superior generator. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. You simply type in the list (e.g., names, numbers, email addresses), press a button and the random list is automatically generated.

2012 January

From the 2012 Jan issue.

Getting Immediate Student Feedback the Plus/Delta Way

Waiting till the end of a course is not always the most effective way to obtain useful student feedback. It can help in altering the next course, but does nothing for the students who took the current course.

In the November 2, 2011 issue of Faculty Focus, Susan Codone, PhD writes about a way to get immediate student feedback. The plus/delta evaluation is a brief, half-page form that she hands out at the beginning of class. She asks students during class to think of a "plus" — something they like about the class, and a "delta" — something they'd like to change (substantive feedback, not things out of her control). When class is over, she asks students to leave their completed forms (with no name) by the door. She usually gets good, solid comments that she can use to improve her teaching.

Read the full article.

2011 December

From the 2011 Dec issue.

Measuring Student Learning

An option for measuring student learning is to have students take the final exam during the first week in class, without grading them on it. At the end of the term give them that same exam again and compare the results. While letting students see their final exam makes some teachers nervous, most students won't remember any of the questions, and if they do, it will simply help them focus in on what you feel is important for them to know.

Visit Faculty Focus more information.

2011 November

From the 2011 Nov issue.

Business Course Tips

  1. Offer to simply put guest speakers on a Question & Answer panel instead of asking them to teach a full lecture—it means no prep for them, and makes them far more likely to offer their time.
  2. Focus on free, practical tools. Facebook and Twitter are both free, as are several blog platforms.
  3. Encourage students to register their own domain. It's about $15 for a year. Godaddy and 000Domains are inexpensive and reliable.
  4. Website hosting can be only a few dollars a month. Hostgator is inexpensive, and works great for most students.
  5. Direct students to people like Chris Kresser and Kat at LMT or Bust, both of whom started blogs as students, and as a result already had an audience when they graduated.

2011 October

From the 2011 Oct issue.

I recently discovered the Wordle application at the afmte conference in August 2011. We used it during the closing ceremony. Every person shared a word that summed up their experience of the conference. The wods were entered into a computer and then uploaded to the Wordle site to create a stunning visual representation of our thoughts. I posted it in the September Teacher's Aide. I've been experimenting with it and am having fun. I have copied chapter 17 of Business Mastery into Wordle and you can see how it appears below. I plan to do this for all the chapters of my books and make PowerPoint slides.

You can limit the number of words you want included, and once it's done you can remove words that you don't want, (e.g., "the," "and," "of"). You can also adjust the font, layout and color scheme. You could do this with course materials as an introduction to a course or a summary. Another idea is to have each person in class submit 3-5 words that depict the most important concepts they learned in a specific module.

Create the Wordle and have a short class discussion about it (e.g., which words had more impact, was anything left out).

2011 September

From the 2011 Sep issue.

Engage students by designing activities that show how the class information relates to their lives or current events. For instance, if a student is a runner, have that student identify the major muscles and bones affected by running and what types of modalities would be the most beneficial. When teaching ethics, bring in an article or news story about an ethical problem and discuss how that affects their profession, or what they can learn from that incident that could be applied to their profession.

2011 August

From the 2011 August issue.

Encourage student involvement by having them start a class. This could be a short presentation on how the material in the previous class relates to the current class, a review of the material that was covered in the previous class, or a highlight of the reading assignments. You could expand this to a longer presentation (15-20 minutes) on a specific topic.

This last example can work well when a student needs to make up missed classes. A side benefit of a student leading a class section is an increase in public speaking abilities and confidence.

2011 June

From the 2011 June issue.
Contributed by Deborah K. Noppen LVN, LMT, MTI of the Milan Institute in San Antonio, TX

I assign students a project where they plan their own individual business which is a curriculum requirement to do as homework.

But more challenging and fun is I assign groups to form a partnerships. It really helps them learn the importance of working well with others. I give them basic parameters with as little information as possible, just enough to get them started, (e.g., your partnership will have 3 fixed locations, or your business provides mobile out calls and corporate wellness). From that point the rest is up to them to figure out their income, whether the other therapists are employees or independent contractors, what compensation is, what are the hours of operation, what are the start-up cost and monthly operating expenses. It is very eye-opening for them and they always think of a few questions that are out of the box!

Then they have mock visits to ask for money from a lender.

THEN! This may sound crazy but I have the groups sabotage each other's businesses so that the original planners can be aware of their businesses weaknesses. They love this activity and become quite animated as they work out their differences of opinion.

2011 May

From the 2011 May issue.

Improve feedback in your online classes by incorporating audio and video commentary. In the March 23 issue of Faculty Focus, John Orlando discusses the four major advantages to voice feedback: improved ability to understand nuance; increased involvement; increased content retention; and increased instructor teaching.

2011 April

From the 2011 April issue.

Make your class material meaningful by relating the material to your students' lives, lifestyles and future professions. Students learn things more quickly and easily when it relates to them. Also give your students opportunities to immediately apply their knowledge. This can be done in a practice session, lab, a written exercise, a small group activity or a full class discussion. Application reinforces learning, builds confidence and provides feedback.

2011 February

From the 2011 February issue.

Many of us rely on PowerPoint slides in our classes. But are they making the impact we desire? Take this interesting 1-minute test created by Vivek Singh of All About Presentations.

The test has you think about slides as being like billboards. He shows a series of slides where he asks you to imagine you are glancing at a billboard while driving and you have exactly 4 seconds for the image to make an impression. At the end you are asked about what stood out for you. While there are no right or wrong answers, this self-test helps you realize the importance of simplifying your slides and choosing appropriate images.

2011 January

From the 2011 January issue.

Apply the principles of Feng Shui to your PowerPoint presentations. Here are a few tips that Yulia provides in the article, Feng Shui in your PowerPoint Presentation:

  • Use the design of element Earth in your presentation if you would like to reach lots of people
  • Choose a proper color
  • Use harmonic shapes
  • Choose the right date
  • Avoid standing with your back to a window or door.

2010 Autumn

From the 2010 Autumn issue.

Tips for Discussing Trauma Issues in the Classroom

Be reassuring, frank, and practical when dealing with trauma topics. No subject is off-limits. This helps students feel safe and less isolated. Keep your boundaries. Discourage any attempt by some students to turn you into an instant psychotherapist.

  • Don't be shy to use exaggerated body movements or facial expressions when describing some event or accident, especially if you are a born comedian.
  • Tell appropriate stories from your own clinical and classroom experience. Avoid stiff textbook "theory."
  • Encourage students to share their own family experiences of natural disasters or war or unemployment, loss of a sibling, etc, as this sharing can be an invaluable learning experience for other students.
  • Incorporate a lot of group movement, Qi-focusing exercises and paired stretches. This helps keep healthy Qi flowing in the room.
  • Use different areas of the room for different activities, group or mini-group discussions, or take everyone outside for a blast of fresh air or a picnic lunch. Students get very uncomfortable and restless if they just sit in one position.
  • Keep observing each and every student for any sign of fear or a sudden meltdown. If you sense something is brewing, call a quick break and talk to the student in a quiet, private corner. Encourage the student to view any reaction as an invaluable learning experience for her or himself and for future clients.
  • In the concluding circle, encourage each student to share the most valuable points learned during the day on a personal level, and for their future clinical practice.

2010 Spring

From the 2010 Spring issue.

Online Learning Tips


  • Students learn from one another as well as from the instructor.
  • Online learning gives all students a chance (and the necessity) to participate.
  • Different learning styles benefit from the variety that online learning offers.

Follow Up

  • The instructor must be willing to do course corrections if student to student feedback is inappropriate.
  • The instructor must be sure that all students have access to the Internet and the knowledge required to participate.
  • The instructor must understand the online medium and create exercises that allow students to engage with the material from a variety of strengths.

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