Dr. Kimberly Tanner (left) with Dr. Sami Raut (right) following Dr. Tanner's talk.
What is that enthusiasm you can hear down the hall? What's that -- the Biology conference room is packed with so many people that folks were sitting on the floor! If you peer inside, you can see Dr. Kimberly Tanner, Professor of Biology from San Francisco State University, giving an impressive talk for the UAB Biology Departmental Seminar (co-sponsored by ROSE). Here's what it was about:
Small-scale change within departments can have large-scale impacts on student success in the science classroom. Dr. Tanner laid out 21 strategies in the classroom that include Think-Pair-Share, asking open-ended questions, and random cold calling, among others. But beyond her own instruction, Dr. Tanner uses a tool her SEPAL lab developed, DART (Decibel Analysis for Research in Teaching) to assess vocal patterns in the classroom. The decibel analysis can show how much class time is being afforded to teachers talking, student discussing, and quite time for student thinking. DART enables professors to have a really quick and dirty metric for how much of their class time is active and student-centered. Student researcher Joseph Jablonsky noted that, "it was pretty cool to see how much time some teachers spend lecturing through quantitative measurements."
In the audience was also Melissa Walker, PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow. "I really liked how Dr. Tanner emphasized how all of these strategies tied back to inclusion." From the 21 teaching strategies to the DART, Dr. Tanner's work allows instructors to produce long-lasting classroom transformations that improve not only content understanding, but also foster a much needed sense of community for students.
With over 50 people in the audience, her message could not have been more well received.