Breakout Sessions for Thursday, May 5, 2022

Jackson Bartlett, University of Illinois at Chicago
Jackson Bartlett and Lauren Woods
Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in the STEM Classroom

Attitudes toward students, learning, and the role of the instructor are at the core of faculty teaching development work. It is especially important in Math, where instructors teach thousands of students across STEM and beyond and contend with a wide array of student attitudes toward the subject. Varying levels of interest in STEM fields, preparation, and sense of self-efficacy among students can be seen by instructors as either obstacle or opportunity, depending on the mindset we bring to the table.

Fixed mindsets assume that students bring what they bring, and instructors cannot do anything about it. Deficit mindsets assume that the instructor’s role is to make up for what students lack with remedial courses, extra support, or other resources. Fixed and deficit mindsets can disempower instructors and puts the blame on students when they don’t succeed. A growth mindset and asset-based mindset, by contrast, views the classroom as an opportunity to shape students’ perceptions of the subject and of themselves and draws on students’ strengths, knowledge, and skills. Growth and asset-based mindsets empower instructors to leverage students’ existing strengths and skills to support their learning, and help to foster students’ intrinsic motivation, especially in response to challenges and setbacks.

In this interactive breakout session, participants will learn more about how different mindsets can impact student learning. Drawing from the literature and their teaching development efforts across STEM and in Math specifically, the workshop facilitators will discuss strategies for fostering growth and asset-based mindsets in teaching. In addition, workshop participants will share their own experiences and spend time developing strategies unique to their institutional context.

After participating in this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain the differences between a fixed, deficit, asset, and growth mindset
  • Consider how students’ and instructors’ mindsets can impact student achievement and motivation
  • Identify teaching strategies to promote a growth mindset in students
Shelby Hatch, Northwestern University
Shelby Hatch
Incorporating Chemistry into a Writing Course (on Sustainability and Environmental Justice)

“Sustainability Meets Environmental Justice” was developed in response to sustainability’s reputation as a “White Issue.” The primary objectives of the course are to improve students’ writing, oral communication, and critical-thinking. Writing assignments include a “working notebook,” external event reviews, and papers. Oral skills are developed through a one-minute documentary, “10 Minutes for Green Chemistry”, and a group project. Critical thinking is honed by discussing course readings and current environmental (justice) events.

This breakout session will focus on the development and implementation of the course, particularly how chemistry is incorporated into a (Zoom) room filled with students with widely different chemistry backgrounds and interests.

Christopher Jett, University of West Georgia
Christopher Jett and ReAnna S. Roby
A Fishbowl Conversation with Christopher Jett and ReAnna Roby, Moderator Steve Cohen

The purpose of this session is to delve deeper into issues and ideas presented during the symposium. During this Fishbowl Conversation, the panelists will pose questions to each other. We will be collecting questions throughout the day. A moderator will facilitate the discussion. Questions during the panel are welcome.

Ryan Murphy, Niles North High School
Ryan Murphy, Shavila Devi, and Will Ash
A conversation between high school and college instructors; Bridging high school to college post pandemic.

In this session, we will focus on students learning during the pandemic. What did learning look like at high school and UIC? Are students underprepared? Or are they prepared differently? What are the students' strengths coming out of the pandemic? How can institutions of higher education help with transition? A conversation between high school and college instructors.

Veronica Womack, Northwestern University
Veronica Y. Womack
Connecting Beyond the Content: Creating and Assessing Inclusive Learning Environments

This interactive session will utilize content from Northwestern University’s Inclusive Teaching Practicum to equip participants with frameworks and tools for creating and assessing inclusive, meaningful, affirming learning environments. With a focus on strategies for positioning students as active participants in the learning space and strategies for ongoing assessment of inclusion efforts, this session will engage participants to envision and create classrooms that actively affirm learners of all identities. Through self-reflection and case studies, participants will have opportunities to explore and practice the techniques provided.