Innovative Practices Spotlight

CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight


The Center for Academic Excellence is recognizing a faculty member every month in the CAE Innovative Practices Spotlight to highlight his or her innovative classroom practices and outstanding contribution to Millersville University. 

Dr. Cynthia Taylor is being recognized in October for her exceptional use of active learning strategies in her mathematics courses!

Please continue reading to learn more about her exciting experience and to learn ways to incorporate innovative practices into your classroom. 

1. What innovative practice did you incorporate into your classroom?

Over the past couple semesters in my mathematics methods and mathematics content courses for teachers, I have been providing audio recorded feedback to select in class presentations and written assignments. After I get to know the students and they get to know me, I find the oral feedback to be more personable. It is easier to express tone (e.g., what I am excited about with what they did), be supportive, and provide a holistic perspective of the assignment verbally than in written form. Students enjoy the oral feedback. 

2. When did you implement the new practice into your classroom?

At a conference four years ago, I heard of a colleague that did this and thought, that type of feedback makes a lot of sense. 

3. Did the students willingly accept the use of the new practice? What were the reactions of the students?

So far, my students have been really receptive to the audio recorded feedback. They have told me in writing and in person how they appreciate listening to my analysis of their presentation/assignment. 

4. How has the use of the new practice positively affected the classroom learning environment?

I think providing oral feedback personalizes the assessment in a way that a written response does not. Students hear my enthusiasm in class and also on the recording. With a written response, what they did that I thought was fabulous may not get interpreted as such by reading my feedback in print. 

5. How has the use of the new practice affected student engagement in the classroom and the level of participation? 

The feedback that I provide students orally enriches classroom discussions while simultaneously enhances student engagement that yields more thoughtful responses. They hear my detailed feedback on the audio recording and build off that during class discussions. My goal is to model various instructional strategies that the students may someday use with their future K-12 students. Thus, the hope with this assessment strategy is that they see that oral feedback is an alternative to always providing written feedback that students may or may not read. 

6. What challenges did you encounter when you were implementing the new practice?

The only challenge I have encountered is that I sometimes find myself starting over the audio recording because I misspeak or think of some other way to say what I just said...and I would rather the student hear that than what I just recorded. 

7. How did attending Camp IDEA or a CAE Professional Development session contribute to your learning and use of the innovative practice? 

The CAE professional development sessions I attend always get me thinking, what can I adapt to my teaching and how can I improve what I do in the classroom so students are provided with the best opportunity to learn.