The pursuit of a degree is a meaningful experience for students, ripe with moments to learn about who they are, what matters to them, and how they want to contribute to the world. Each day in class, students are enhancing their personal and professional development by focusing their attention towards new ideas, skills, or approaches to their academic discipline. As an instructor, you can further their personal and professional growth through a few simple techniques.
The following list of activities can help you to illustrate and accelerate personal and professional growth for students in your class.
As part of a first class, instructors often take time to review the syllabus and discuss their goals for the course as well as how those goals will be achieved. In addition to the instructors, students bring their individual goals in to the course. Scheduling time for introductory activities that encourage students to share their prior experiences, existing knowledge, and motivations for the course can help them identify those goals.
Critical reflection, storytelling, and strengths-based pedagogies can ensure that these questions are explored with rigor and personal insight. Possible activities include: values inventory or classroom assessment techniques that assess prior learning or recall.
Icebreaker activities can also help to form peer groups that students draw support from and contribute to the success of others. This provides an opportunity for students to expand their personal networks and engage with a wider representation of the campus community.
Skills students can gain from common class activities*
We can help you
The syllabus is a rich source of information for students and instructors where expectations, assignments, and additional responsibilities are often outlined. Explicitly naming the skills students will gain through the course can help accelerate student’s independent reflection.
Career Educators at the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers can help to co-design and develop activities and assignments. Through this collaboration, personal and professional development runs in parallel with the disciplinary knowledge and expectations you have set for your course.
Bring in a Career Educator to deliver specific activities, reflection, or other components that you might appreciate a helping hand with.
Courses and curricular learning offer special opportunities for students to notice and pay attention to the skills they are learning for their life within and beyond UBC. Through partnerships with faculty, the university can expand the places and ways in which students are asked to think about themselves, their work, and the impact their discipline has on the way they see the world.
Calls to Action
1. Talk to a professor doing this work
a. Jason Read, Senior Instructor
Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
b. Peter Ostafichuk, Professor of Teaching
Faculty of Applied Science, Department of Mechanical Engineering
c. Verena Griess, Assistant Professor
Faculty of Forestry, Forest Management
2. Talk to a career educator
a. Kimberley Rawes, Career Educator
Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
b. Shagufta Pasta, Career & Experiential Learning Educator (Faculty of Arts)
Centre for Student Involvement and Careers
Icebreakers to facilitate effective introductions, networking, and class expectations.
Overview of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT) provides useful background information.
50 CATs by Angelo and Cross ideas and instructions for in-class activities.
Most Significant Change technique for monitoring and evaluating learning
Team Based Learning resources, videos, and book for developing teams in class.
Centre for Student Involvement and Careers Sample lesson plan: Personal Values and Team Dynamics in FRST 424
- Related Handout - Values Inventory
Evans, K., Guile, D. & Harris, J. (2011). Rethinking work-based learning: for education professionals and professionals who educate. In M. Malloch L. Cairns & K. Evans The SAGE handbook of workplace learning (pp. 149-162). London: SAGE Publications Ltd
Lopez, S. J., & Louis, M. C. (2009). The principles of strengths-based education. Journal of College and Character, 10(4).
Ostafichuk, P., Hodgson, A., Bartek, S., & Naylor, C. (2010, June). Teaching Team Dynamics: Experiences in Second Year Mechanical Engineering Design. In Proc. CDIO Conference (Montreal, QC, 14-17 June, 2010).
Ostafichuk, P. M., Sibley, J., & Van Der Loos, H. M. (2012). Peer-to-peer assessment in large classes: A study of several techniques used in design courses. In American Society for Engineering Education. American Society for Engineering Education.
Sibley, J., & Ostafichuk, P. (2015). Getting started with team-based learning. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Valley, W., Wittman, H., Jordan, N., Ahmed, S., & Galt, R. (2017). An emerging signature pedagogy for sustainable food systems education. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 1-14.