Beginning in December 2013, faculty from all Northern College campuses took part in a three-day professional development opportunity called the Instructional Skills Workshop. When asked to describe the workshop in one word, our faculty said: “Invigorating!”, “Life-changing!” and simply put, “Wow”.
For those of you who were not able to take part in the workshop, you might ask: What is ISW?
The Instructional Skills Workshop is offered within a small group setting and is designed to enhance the teaching effectiveness of both new and experienced educators. During the 3-4 day workshop, participants design and conduct three “mini-lessons” and receive verbal, written and video feedback from the other participants who have been learners in the mini-lessons. Using an intensive experiential learning approach, participants are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching adult learners, the selection and writing of useful learning objectives with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluation of learning.
The workshop encourages reflection and examination of one’s teaching practices with feedback focused on the learning process rather than on the specific content of the lesson. Effective feedback skills, practiced in the workshop, are useful for educators in the classroom and also as they conduct their regular institutional business.
The ISW engenders participatory learning and the building of community that can transfer back into the classroom and the institution. Participation in a workshop creates an opportunity for new faculty to learn about the unique culture and value system of the organization and can also be a renewing and revitalizing activity for more seasoned members. Added benefits are a sense of collegiality, team building, self-discovery, and learning new approaches to working with others.
Click here for more information about this program.