Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Dr. Z Shares his Research on Building Student-Teacher Connections on the Teaching-in-10 Podcast

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Dr. Sarah Montgomery for her Teaching in 10 Podcast.  This podcast is designed to allow higher education faculty to share teaching strategies and stories about how they engage students and support student success and well-being.  

In my session, I discussed how I have been using an Opening Question Activity in my classes (both on-line and in-person) to build connections with my undergrad students.

I begin each class session by asking each student the question for the day.  These questions might be "What are your hidden talents" or "If you could have a super power, what would it be?"  Taking the time to ask each individual provides them a chance to share something about themselves and for me to learn more about them.  The most important part is that it builds a connection between me and my students.  It makes a BIG difference.

We discuss the research I have been doing on using these questions to start a class. You may remember that I discussed this earlier in Dr. Z Reflects (Connecting with Students through Opening Questions).  We even discussed the additional research that I did at the same time about Why Students Turn Off their Online Cameras which I also shared on this blog.

Please give it a listen and give me some feedback about what you have experienced using icebreaker questions or other methods for connecting with your students.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Mind-Up for Life with FlipGrid

I just partook in an interesting FlipGrid Live Event called "Build Your Mental Fitness with Goldie Hawn and Dido Balla."  This was part of a FlipGrid Live Event series that I had not previously attended.  Great event. 

Dido Balla was the main presenter.  Goldie joined us through some pre-recorded videos but she was informative.  Dido shared the intricacies of the mind and how mindfulness can help you get the most out of our noggin. His website identifies him as a "brain trainer."  

My favorite parts were where Dido explained the intricacies of the mind using simple metaphors. He described the problem of test anxiety using his fist. The premise was that people can have problems with tests even though they know the material completely.  Unfortunately, the emotions in the brain cloud the cognitive function.  The knowledge was represented by the thumb and the emotions were the four fingers covering it.  The pathway toward success is to find a way to "open the fingers" so they can free the "thumb" to share the knowledge.  

Dr. Z and Dido Balla
His answer to this problem was to "Seize Today." Spend some time being mindful. Deep breathing and centering your consciousness can bring you to the present. He said that we have to ask ourselves, "Is my  mind where my body is?"  Ignoring the past and future can provide us with what we need to use to have success today. 

I reviewed Balla's blog and it is filled with videos and postings that discuss dealing with emotions, memories, happiness, optimism, and much more.  I know that I will be spending my evenings learning from this blog. 

An interesting benefit of this event was my discovering the MindUP Brain Break.  This is a 3-minute video where Dido Balla leads you in mindful breathing.  I plan to use this with my students to show them how they can engage in mindfulness.

Have you had an opportunity to explore Mind-Up or engage in mindful learning?  Please share your experiences in the comments below.