Tag Archives: recommended reading

Recommended reading: “Structure Matters: Twenty-One Teaching Strategies to Promote Student Engagement and Cultivate Classroom Equity” (Tanner, 2013)

Teaching for sustainability is about so much more than teaching the content and skills described in the SDGs, or even the cross-cutting sustainability competencies. Today, I talked with teachers who asked what they could do in their courses where the curriculum does not mention anything related to sustainability, and if they should even do anything. Do all courses always need to connect to sustainability? In my opinion, everything is connected to sustainability, and even if you don’t want to explicitly address it in every course and all the time, there are so many things you can do to use your teaching on any content and skills for sustainability.

One article that I find super helpful is “Structure matters: twenty-one teaching strategies to promote student engagement and cultivate classroom equity.” (Tanner, 2013). It is not about sustainability, but it is contributing to it anyway by giving super simple teaching tricks that help teachers to pay attention that all students are invited to participate and to personally connect to the topic. In a nutshell (but go read the original article, since it not only provides a checklist but also explains why each of the strategies is important and why they work): Continue reading

Currently reading: “Teaching with rubrics: the good, the bad, and the ugly” (Andrade, 2005)

Doing my reading for the monthly iEarth journal club… Thanks for suggesting yet another interesting article, Kirsty! This one is “Teaching with rubrics: the good, the bad, and the ugly” (Andrade, 2005) — a great introduction on how to work with rubrics (and only 2.5 pages of entertaining, easy-to-read text, plus an example rubric). My summary of the article:

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Currently reading: “Disarming Racial Microaggressions: Microintervention Strategies for Targets, White Allies, and Bystanders” (Sue et al., 2019)

I have another recommended reading for you! I found this really nice framework for disarming microaggressions, both targeted directly towards the perpetrator, but also institutional and societal macroaggressions, in Sue et al. (2019). The article includes a lot of really helpful examples of what this might look like in practice. Below is a summary of the aspects that I want to take from the article to bring into a workshop I’m teaching next month (so I am reading this through a very specific lens for my own context). I definitely recommend to check out the original article to look at great examples of strategies to intervene depending on the objective (if nothing else, browse table 1)!

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Recommended reading: “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” by Zakrajsek (2022)

I found a new YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!-book: “The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain” by Zakrajsek (2022). It is aimed at students and it  might be the most important thing students ever read in school…

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“Doughnut Rounds” (after Fleiszer et al., 1997)

A great teaching method that engages students with literature, and that Cathy Bovill recently introduced me to, are “doughnut rounds”: Students (or workshop participants) are asked to read an article and formulate a certain number of questions, that are then discussed in groups. This leads to people being able to fill in gaps in their understanding (for example due to superficial reading…) and to general engagement with the topic.

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Currently reading: Relationship-rich education (Felten & Lambert, 2020)

I read the book “Relationship-rich education. How human connections drive success in college” by Felten & Lambert (2020) almost a year ago and found it super inspiring, but also very hard to summarize. You should check it out yourself, of course, but here are my key take-aways.

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“Systems conveners in complex landscapes” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2014)

If I had to pick one book that has influenced my current thinking about teaching and learning the most, I would pick Wenger’s 1998 “Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity” (link to my summary of the book and some later work on CoPs). What I find really helpful to think about in the CoP framework is that there are many different, but legitimate, roles, that can also — again, legitimately — change over time. The description of one specific role, the “broker”, really spoke to me when I first read the book: Someone who is involved in many different CoPs and facilitates information flow between them. That’s kinda what I have always been doing because that’s what I find most interesting (much more interesting than really digging deep into one topic), without thinking about that being an important contribution to all those CoPs. And now I read another Wenger work which made me realize that while I was probably a broker for many years, maybe now I am on my way of becoming a “systems convener” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2014): “They are dreamers but they are also schemers, with a solid dose of strategic thinking and tactical acuity.”

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From “education for sustainable development” to “education for the end of the world as we know it” (reflecting on Stein et al., 2022)

A lot of things are happening around teaching sustainability at LU right now! As I am planning the second iteration of my “teaching sustainability” course, I am reading more about what we actually mean by “teaching sustainability”. It is clear that this is not a good title for my course, but we haven’t come up with a better one yet, and I think me struggling with finding a good name is a symptom of me struggling with what the essence of that course is. I don’t want my course “just” to be about how to teach about the SDGs or problems or solutions, it needs to be bigger than that. But then how to make sure there is still a clear focus?

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Reading Gin et al. (2021) on “how syllabi can serve as communication tools for creating inclusive classrooms”

This is mostly a “note to self”: Found a really interesting article on “how syllabi can serve as communication tools for creating inclusive classrooms” by Gun et al. (2021). A review of 60ish biology syllabi as well as the literature of what should be included, and pointers on which group of students especially benefits from the information and why, as well as examples. This is great to help students build “cultural capital” and level the playing field! And strong motivation to pay more attention to syllabi as actual communication tools and how they — as oftentimes first point of contact between instructor and students — can shape the classroom climate.

They even provide a template syllabus here: https://zenodo.org/record/4317968#.Y8EIaC8w0f8
Highly recommended reading!


Gin, L. E., Scott, R. A., Pfeiffer, L. D., Zheng, Y., Cooper, K. M., & Brownell, S. E. (2021). It’s in the syllabus… or is it? How biology syllabi can serve as communication tools for creating inclusive classrooms at a large-enrollment research institution. Advances in Physiology Education.

Currently reading: “Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice” (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006)

Somehow a print of the “Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice” (Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006) article ended up on my desk. I don’t know who wanted me to read it, but I am glad I did! See my summary below.

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