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The SID Seminar helped me explore new ways for my students to “speak to learn,” and motivated me to include in my teaching scaffolded opportunities for developing their speaking and listening skills. This has improved student engagement and writing, too. Specifically, the small group discussions, jigsaw groups and simulations I developed in the seminar have increased students’ awareness of multiple perspectives, inspired them to be more generous with their interlocutors, and helped them better address counterarguments. 

- Alison Patterson, English/Film and Media Studies

I loved the SID seminar for introducing me to various speaking activities and allowing me to learn from educators across disciplines. As an outcome, I include team activities in my class. Students discuss and solve problems in teams and present their solutions to the class. Everyone then discusses and comes to a consensus on the ‘best’ solution. This allows students to practice scientific discourse early on and they perform better than when I used the traditional ‘paper-and-pencil’ approach. 

- Daniel Lambrecht, Chemistry

The seminar is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in acquiring new pedagogical tools, diversifying their teaching portfolio, and enriching students’ learning experience. Lynn Clarke introduced us to a variety of speaking activities and helped us rethink how we taught students to speak. Meetings were lively and interactive, and I appreciated the rare opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues from other disciplines. Without hesitation I recommend this seminar. 

- Anita Lukic, German

The Speaking in the Disciplines seminar gave me the framework and strategies for enabling my students to learn actively and collaboratively with each other. My students today continue to reap the benefits: They take intellectual risks and are not afraid to formulate their knowledge of threshold concepts by way of asking constructive questions -- loud and clear. 

- Philip Kao, Anthropology

Walking into the seminar room the first time returned me to my student days, with all the attendant anxieties about talking in class! It was a good place from which to learn strategies to thoughtfully integrate oral communication into my pedagogical practices. I learned how to create space for more diverse voices, especially the quiet ones, to emerge in the classroom. 

- Julie Nakama, English/Film and Media Studies

The Speaking in the Disciplines Seminar helped me to integrate 5-minute presentations into my Mineralogy course in a way that enhanced learning and helped me provide useful feedback. The best part – finding this reflected in improved test scores in concepts covered by students. 

- Rosemary Capo, Geology and Environmental Science

Speaking in the Disciplines was an excellent opportunity for me to retool my class syllabus and oral presentation rubrics. Colleagues from a variety of fields provided collegial, thorough critique and suggestions based on years of experience. The 9-week workshop format gave it a relaxed pace that makes this seminar stand out from most pedagogy workshops at Pitt. 

- Burhan Gharaibeh, Biological Sciences

The SID Seminar provided a welcoming, stimulating space for collegial exchange and a valuable opportunity to learn about best practices in teaching and evaluating students’ oral communication. During the seminar, I developed a new drama course and presentation and performance rubrics, and I have continued to use the ideas and resources discussed in the seminar in all of my other courses. 

- Holly Yanacek, German

Lynn Clarke's SID seminar bespeaks the need for students to engage in meaningful oral communication so they can benefit from perhaps the most valuable resource—fellow students—and become confident leaders and teachers. The seminar helped me include this crucial component in History of Jazz. Course objectives now include developing oral communication skills that help students understand sociological issues within jazz history and identify stylistic features of memorable jazz recordings using course vocabulary. Our students now find recitations more relevant and appealing. 

- Doretta Whalen, Music

Working with an expert facilitator, producing and receiving feedback on a project, and discussing teaching strategies with colleagues will directly benefit your students.  If you want to incorporate speaking more fully and richly into your courses, then this is definitely the place to be. 

- J. D. Wright, Slavic Languages and  Literatures

I came away from this seminar with a renewed appreciation for the importance of verbal communication as a tool for processing and testing information, for speaking to learn. The interaction with other colleagues was informative, and Lynn’s adroit guidance of our discussion was especially valuable. I turn to my notes from this seminar each time I revisit a course syllabus. 

- Charles Exley, East Asian Languages and Literatures

The tools provided during this workshop, along with the numerous ideas and suggestions from my colleagues, allowed me to integrate student presentations into a content-heavy, upper-level geology course. The presentations helped students gain valuable insight and knowledge by researching a topic in depth and then presenting (teaching) it to their peers. They also helped students appreciate the challenge of orally conveying information in an understandable way. 

- Brian Stewart, Geology and Environmental Science

Simply put, the Speaking in the Disciplines Faculty Seminar was one of the best teaching workshops in which I have ever participated. Going into the seminar, I had the goal of being able to improve the assignments for a new course. Wonderfully, I learned things each and every week that could be applied to ALL of my courses. 

- Thomas Morton, History of Art and Architecture

The SID seminar really made me think about what doesn’t work in my classes and why, and possible ways to shift the emphasis onto my students and away from my lecture-heavy style. I learned so much from fellow participants and recommended readings. The seminar prompted me to try new techniques for encouraging student participation and inspired me to redesign, not just an assignment but my whole syllabus! 

- Molly Warsh, History

This seminar really made me think more carefully about speaking as both a tool for learning and as a skill that needs to be learned in its own right. It also helped me develop a much more deliberate, multi-step approach to student presentations in class than I had employed before. Last but not least, it gave us the opportunity to discuss teaching strategies with colleagues from different departments and learn from each other. I highly recommend it! 

- Viktoria Harms, German

As a historian, I am always trying to get my students to engage with historical texts, usually by writing about them. This course helped me think more about how to get them talking about those texts, and just as important, how to get them listening to what those texts have to say. 

- Reid Andrews, History

In the SID seminar, I met colleagues from other departments and learnt the ways speaking is valued in their disciplines. I also came to think more deeply about the role of speaking in my own discipline and how I can better teach undergraduates to be more effective speakers. I really appreciated the seminar’s communal atmosphere and would recommend it to anyone looking to add an oral component to their course! 

- Melinda Ciccocioppo, Psychology