Teaching Methods and Strategies

For me, encouraging active teaching and learning is one of the most important keys to facilitating student investment. Direct, active involvement in the material and concepts is an effective motivator. Meyers and Jones (1993) identify four “building blocks” of active learning: talking/listening, writing, reading, and reflecting. This list alone highlights the usefulness of active learning. My courses and my day-to-day teaching activities are almost all guided by this principle as I am convinced that students, especially the students of today, learn much better when they are involved in what they are doing. As Chickering and Gamson (1997) state, “Learning is not a spectator sport.” In particular, with my use of blended learning strategies (such as wikis), I have been able to increase active learning, collaborative learning, and time on task in my courses. Along the same lines, as promoted by Aagaard, Conner, and Skidmore (2014), I make it a point to use a different instructional method every day. The strategies will, of course, repeat, but I rarely, if ever, use the same delivery on back-to-back days. I have found this sort of variety motivates students to want to come to class to see what we are going to do, and it keeps them from becoming weary of one method.

It’s almost impossible to emphasize how significant (and perhaps daunting!) that first day of a course is. When I began teaching, I didn’t have that opinion. I suspect that there are many instructors like me who see the first day as, if not a waste of time, then an hour to get the “boring stuff” out of the way. I have long since changed my mind. That first day is incredibly important, and research supports this conclusion. For instance, Kim Case, et. al. (2008), assert: "[M]ost experts suggest that instructors use first-day activities that accomplish one or more of the following goals: establish warm interpersonal relationships between instructor and students, communicate clearly about key elements of the course, and actively involve students from the start" (p. 210). I agree with this list of goals, particularly actively involving students from the beginning (otherwise known by the well-used phrase “begin as you mean to go on”). An activity I use to set the tone of why students are in my courses as well as the active engagement that will be expected of them is one I call “Why Do We Study the Humanities?. In this activity, students read and take notes on examples of articles I have collected related to the title question, and then we discuss them in small groups and then as a class. I have been quite astonished at the complexity of questions and ideas that have formed from this early discussion and how it changes the tone of the course.

Indeed, Meyers and Jones (2003) indicate that “the primary strengths of small-group activities is that they can incorporate all the key elements of active learning – talking and listening, reading, writing, and reflecting” (p. 60). The Citation Scavenger Hunt activity that I assign in my 2000-level survey courses is an example of this statement, developing reciprocity and cooperation among students. We address citation mining, beginning by exploring examples of citations and, as a class, discovering what information we can learn by using only what can be found in those citations. After that, students break into groups, providing information as asked for in a series of questions. They finish by individually reflecting on what they have learned from the exercise. We start out as a class as a whole because there are several concepts to consider, including modeling how to mine a citation effectively. By then breaking into groups, students share the responsibility of analyzing their particular citation – both without and with internet resources. In this activity, it is essential to have students complete a final reflection on their own so that they actively engage on an individual basis with the material the small groups discussed.

Recently, I had an epiphany concerning my approach to assignment design. Basically, the way I had assignments set up simply didn't allow for students to be as actively involved as I wanted nor benefit from feedback and apply it. As Fluckiger, et. al. (2010), state, “feedback given only at the end of a learning cycle is not effective in furthering student learning” (p. 136). My solution to giving prompt feedback has been to create assignments that include various activities and/or checkpoints over the course of the semester that emphasize process, rather than production. For example, I developed a semester-long assignment called Medievalist for a Semester." This assignment breaks apart the research process into all of its parts and requires students to complete work, starting the first week of the semester, in five Checkpoints that culminates in a Journal Article. These Checkpoints include annotated bibliographies, discussions of scholarly trends, identification of arguments against, etc.

The purpose of the “Medievalist for a Semester” Checkpoints is that one lesson builds upon the other. Tagg (2003) describes feedback as “information about an ongoing action or pattern of action,” which is “defined by its relationship to contemplated future action” (p. 186). Many potential ways to provide feedback to students fit into the principles of active learning as well. Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) emphasize this idea: "Firstly, if formative assessment is exclusively in the hands of teachers, then it is difficult to see how students can become empowered and develop the self-regulation skills needed to prepare for learning outside university and throughout life...students require opportunities to construct actively an understanding of them [feedback messages] (e.g. through discussion) before they can be used to regulate performance" (pp. 200-201). Crisp (2007) also notes that students must “actively engage with the feedback” (p. 573). I asked students a few years ago what it would take to get them to read and incorporate feedback into future assignments. They said fairly candidly that they would have to be forced to do so. Since then, I generally include an assignment that requires students to reflect and/or summarize their feedback before continuing to the next assignment. Overall, I believe that the key to ensuring students pay attention to feedback is reflection. Having students think about their own work, their own thinking (metacognition) is sometimes more effective than the work itself. Students aren't particularly keen on this type of reflection because, well, it's hard! Still, it is essential. As an example of the feedback loop, in “Medievalist for a Semester,” we discuss effective annotated bibliographies in class, and then, in Checkpoint 2, students complete three of their own. I provide feedback on those bibliographies as well as a grade for Checkpoint 2. Then, in Checkpoint 3, students complete three more with the expectation that they use the feedback from the previous Checkpoint. By the end of the semester, students will have feedback on three sets of annotated bibliography entries, and then they are required to revise them for their final project, reflecting on this process in the concluding activity, a cover letter accompanying their Journal Article.

The “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment also includes the formation of research groups, again developing reciprocity and cooperation among students. I form these groups based upon the texts that students choose at the beginning of the semester. The best work often comes from bouncing ideas off of others. This is an example of what the USC Seven Principles site calls “[c]reat[ing] 'learning communities,' study groups, and team projects with individual accountability.” Indeed, these groups form mini-learning communities, which is a small-scale version of the high-impact learning community practice. I attempt to provide what Doyle (2008) comments students need which is “directions, resources, framework, and methods of accountability; timelines; rubric/grading system; and a meaningful and authentic task for the members to work on” (p. 90). Authentic tasks indeed encourage student investment. I have had such positive experiences with this system that I have started applying the same principles in many of my other classes in various ways.

The extra benefit of the “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment is that I can promote student research outside of the classroom, which is another high-impact practice implemented in a similar fashion by Fike (2011). The optional goal I identify on the assignment is that students may decide, with extra guidance from me, to present their final work at a conference. Not every student has such an experience, and, yet, these are the ones that shape their decisions about their careers. Undergraduate research is essential to students who are planning on going to graduate school. In addition, as Arredondo (1995) has found, “faculty who interact closely with undergraduates are in a position to evaluate students' abilities, talents, and skill levels during college” (p. 3). Encouraging such contact between students and myself helps me as a teacher, and it also helps me write recommendation letters or assist my students in other ways.

In the “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment, I clearly mention that the amount of work assigned for each Checkpoint is based on the understanding that the work will NOT be completed all in one day or in one sitting, but should be completed throughout the time allotted. The purpose of this disclaimer is to emphasize not only time on task, but, as Romero and Barbera (2011) comment, “quality learning time” (p. 125). I have various strategies embedded into my classes to achieve the same goal, especially when it comes to reading assignments. Erickson, Peters, and Strommer (2006) have found that “[d]irect instruction on 'how to get the most from assigned readings' is useful at any level of instruction, particularly so for first-year students” (p. 122). As a literature instructor, I find this to be an accurate statement. Thus, I created an exercise/activity that I have my students do on the second or third day of the class called How to Read and Take Notes.” We take a short reading from that class and go through the steps in order to demonstrate ways of reading. Later in the semester, we return to this exercise, especially the list of approaches to reading literature. I teach students how to use the Cornell note-taking system while completing the “How to Read” exercise. Students sign up for one week during the semester, during which they must take notes on the readings and discussions. They use these to create a Moderator Week page on the course wiki. They turn in both the notes and the page for a grade and feedback. In this way, the work is efficiently spread out among the students, they each practice taking detailed notes to provide for the rest of the class, and they spend more quality time on the material. To help ensure that students have completed the reading prior to class, I will frequently assign low-stakes TED-Ed Lessons." TED-Ed is an on-line system in which you can ask questions and set discussions. In addition, the digital feedback system is efficient, allowing me to write comments to each question as necessary. This method helps to encourage student accountability without the problems, including lowering of morale, associated with in-class quizzes.

Ken Bain in What the Best College Teachers Do (2004) asserts that “researchers discovered that if they can keep people from thinking that someone else might be viewing them through the lens of a negative stereotype, they can significantly change what those people accomplished” (p. 70). I cannot agree with this concept more, and it becomes more apparent to me all the time as I teach students who have very low self-esteem (for one reason or another), especially in terms of their ability to manage the expectations of college academics. Later he says that the best teachers “tend to look for and appreciate the individual value of each student” and “had great faith in students' ability to achieve” (p. 72). I think this is the key to communicating high expectations. If we simply assign work with the understanding that students will most likely fail it, there is a relatively good chance they will. Why should they invest if there is little chance of succeeding? It's like buying a lottery ticket. On the other hand, if we expect much from them and communicate that we believe they can succeed, then they can. Bain continues, “Trust in students also depended on the teacher's rejection of power over them. The educators we studied invited people to pursue ambitious goals and promised to help them achieve, but they left learners in control of their own education” (p. 74). Basically it boils down to: treat students as human beings with free will, but a need for guidance. Following the findings of Scager, Akkerman, Pilot, and Wubbels (2013), I tell my students on the first day that I KNOW the material is going to be difficult, especially given they are encountering rather unfamiliar types of literature, but that they can indeed be successful. Essentially, communicating high expectations is a balance of not giving up, holding students to the standards you set, and scaffolding the activities that get them there, providing feedback as they go – in other words, combining many of the Seven Principles.

Indeed, communicating high expectations also includes respecting diverse talents and ways of learning. While research has pretty well debunked the “myth of learning styles,” it is true that the reasons or motivations for students to invest in their learning are not one size fits all. Due to level of interest in the subject, background, capabilities, etc., what speaks to one will not necessarily speak to another. In fact, only one motivation may not be enough for even one student. This is encouraging; it suggests diversity, complexity, and individualism. Seldin (1995) states, “Valuing diversity means acknowledging that diversity and oppression exist and affect our lives. Diversity is not about lowering our standards; it is about creating ways for all students to meet the standards of academic excellence” (p. 105). My goal is to treat every student with the same respect. Different students have different abilities and start at different levels of cognitive ability and experience, but, nonetheless, every student deserves the education they are receiving and to do so in a safe environment. As Banks, et. al. (2001), asserts as one of their principles of diversity: “Schools should ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to learn and to meet high standards” (p. 198). The key in this assertion is “high standards.”

So much goes into teaching effectively. To create a “lasting impact,” students truly have to be involved deeply in their learning. We cannot, however, assume that all students will naturally or automatically know how to become that committed to their development. That is, after all, the definition of being a student: developing, becoming, evolving…learning. It in is our interest and theirs if we as instructors seek to devise ways to guide students beyond the surface of content and into the expansive valleys of invested learning.

References
Aagaard, L., Conner, T.W., & Skidmore, R.L. (2014). College textbook reading assignments and class time activity. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 14(3), 132-145.
Arredondo, M. (1995). Faculty-student interaction: Uncovering the types of interactions that raise undergraduate degree aspirations. Proceeding from Association for the Study of Higher Education (pp. 1-22). College Station, TX.
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Banks, J.A., et. al. (2001, November). Diversity within unity: Essential principles for teaching and learning in a multicultural society. Phi Delta Kappan, 196-203.
Case, K., Bartsch, R., McEnery, L., Hall, S., Hermann, A., & Foster, D. (2008). Establishing a comfortable classroom from day one: Student perceptions of the reciprocal interview. College Teaching, 56(4), 210-214 (210).
Chickering, A.W., & Gamson, Z.F. (1997, Fall). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. Washington Center News.
Crisp, B.R. (2007). Is it worth the effort? How feedback influences students’ subsequent submission of assessable work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 32(5), 571-581.
Doyle, T. (2008). Communication skills for working with peers. In Helping Students Learn in a Learner-Centered Environment (pp. 85-94). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Erickson, B., Peters, C., & Strommer, D. (2006). Encouraging active reading. In Teaching First-Year College Students (pp. 119-129). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Fike, M.A. (2011). Promoting research in an undergraduate Shakespeare course. CEA Forum, 40(2), 43-54.
Fluckiger, J., Vigil, Y.T., Pasco, R., & Danielson, K. (2010). Formative feedback: Involving students as partners in assessment to enhance learning. College Teaching, 58, 136-140.
Meyers, C., & Jones, T. (1992). Promoting active learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Nicol, D.J., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218.
Romero, M, & Barbera, E. (2011). Quality of learners’ time and learning performance beyond quantitative time-on-task. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(5), 125-137.
Scager, K., Akkerman, S.F., Pilot, A., & Wubbels, T. (2013). How to persuade honors students to go the extra mile: Creating a challenging learning environment. High Ability Studies, 24(2), 115-134.
Seldin, P. (1995). Capitalizing on diversity in the classroom. In Improving College Teaching (pp. 103-113). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. (n.d.). University of South Carolina. Retrieved from http://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/cte/teaching_resources/goodteaching/principles_good_practice/
Tagg, J. (2003). A learning paradigm college provides consistent, continual, interactive feedback to students. In The Learning Paradigm (pp. 185-216). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

For me, encouraging active teaching and learning is one of the most important keys to facilitating student investment. Direct, active involvement in the material and concepts is an effective motivator. Meyers and Jones (1993) identify four “building blocks” of active learning: talking/listening, writing, reading, and reflecting. This list alone highlights the usefulness of active learning. My courses and my day-to-day teaching activities are almost all guided by this principle as I am convinced that students, especially the students of today, learn much better when they are involved in what they are doing. As Chickering and Gamson (1997) state, “Learning is not a spectator sport.” In particular, with my use of blended learning strategies (such as wikis), I have been able to increase active learning, collaborative learning, and time on task in my courses. Along the same lines, as promoted by Aagaard, Conner, and Skidmore (2014), I make it a point to use a different instructional method every day. The strategies will, of course, repeat, but I rarely, if ever, use the same delivery on back-to-back days. I have found this sort of variety motivates students to want to come to class to see what we are going to do, and it keeps them from becoming weary of one method.
It’s almost impossible to emphasize how significant (and perhaps daunting!) that first day of a course is. When I began teaching, I didn’t have that opinion. I suspect that there are many instructors like me who see the first day as, if not a waste of time, then an hour to get the “boring stuff” out of the way. I have long since changed my mind. That first day is incredibly important, and research supports this conclusion. For instance, Kim Case, et. al. (2008), assert:
[M]ost experts suggest that instructors use first-day activities that accomplish one or more of the following goals: establish warm interpersonal relationships between instructor and students, communicate clearly about key elements of the course, and actively involve students from the start. (p. 210)
I agree with this list of goals, particularly actively involving students from the beginning (otherwise known by the well-used phrase “begin as you mean to go on”). An activity I use to set the tone of why students are in my courses as well as the active engagement that will be expected of them is one I call “Why Do We Study the Humanities?” (see Course Documents and Assignments). In this activity, students read and take notes on examples of articles I have collected related to the title question, and then we discuss them in small groups and then as a class. I have been quite astonished at the complexity of questions and ideas that have formed from this early discussion and how it changes the tone of the course.
Indeed, Meyers and Jones (2003) indicate that “the primary strengths of small-group activities is that they can incorporate all the key elements of active learning – talking and listening, reading, writing, and reflecting” (p. 60). The “Citation Scavenger Hunt” activity (see Course Documents and Assignments) that I assign in my 2000-level survey courses is an example of this statement, developing reciprocity and cooperation among students. We address citation mining, beginning by exploring examples of citations and, as a class, discovering what information we can learn by using only what can be found in those citations. After that, students break into groups, providing information as asked for in a series of questions. They finish by individually reflecting on what they have learned from the exercise. We start out as a class as a whole because there are several concepts to consider, including modeling how to mine a citation effectively. By then breaking into groups, students share the responsibility of analyzing their particular citation – both without and with internet resources. In this activity, it is essential to have students complete a final reflection on their own so that they actively engage on an individual basis with the material the small groups discussed.
In reconsidering my courses as I mentioned above, I had an epiphany concerning my approach to assignment design. Basically, the way I had assignments set up simply didn't allow for students to be as actively involved as I wanted nor benefit from feedback and apply it. As Fluckiger, et. al. (2010), state, “feedback given only at the end of a learning cycle is not effective in furthering student learning” (p. 136). My solution to giving prompt feedback has been to create assignments that include various activities and/or checkpoints over the course of the semester that emphasize process, rather than production. For example, I developed a semester-long assignment called “Medievalist for a Semester” (see Course Documents and Assignments). This assignment breaks apart the research process into all of its parts and requires students to complete work, starting the first week of the semester, in five Checkpoints that culminates in a Journal Article. These Checkpoints include annotated bibliographies, discussions of scholarly trends, identification of arguments against, etc.
The purpose of the “Medievalist for a Semester” Checkpoints is that one lesson builds upon the other. Tagg (2003) describes feedback as “information about an ongoing action or pattern of action,” which is “defined by its relationship to contemplated future action” (p. 186). Many potential ways to provide feedback to students fit into the principles of active learning as well. Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) emphasize this idea:

Firstly, if formative assessment is exclusively in the hands of teachers, then it is difficult to see how students can become empowered and develop the self-regulation skills needed to prepare for learning outside university and throughout life...students require opportunities to construct actively an understanding of them [feedback messages] (e.g. through discussion) before they can be used to regulate performance. (pp. 200-201)
Crisp (2007) also notes that students must “actively engage with the feedback” (p. 573). I asked students a few years ago what it would take to get them to read and incorporate feedback into future assignments. They said fairly candidly that they would have to be forced to do so. Since then, I generally include an assignment that requires students to reflect and/or summarize their feedback before continuing to the next assignment. Overall, I believe that the key to ensuring students pay attention to feedback is reflection. Having students think about their own work, their own thinking (metacognition) is sometimes more effective than the work itself. Students aren't particularly keen on this type of reflection because, well, it's hard! Still, it is essential. As an example of the feedback loop, in “Medievalist for a Semester,” we discuss effective annotated bibliographies in class, and then, in Checkpoint 2, students complete three of their own. I provide feedback on those bibliographies as well as a grade for Checkpoint 2. Then, in Checkpoint 3, students complete three more with the expectation that they use the feedback from the previous Checkpoint. By the end of the semester, students will have feedback on three sets of annotated bibliography entries, and then they are required to revise them for their final project, reflecting on this process in the concluding activity, a cover letter accompanying their Journal Article.
The “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment also includes the formation of research groups, again developing reciprocity and cooperation among students. I form these groups based upon the texts that students choose at the beginning of the semester. The best work often comes from bouncing ideas off of others. This is an example of what the USC Seven Principles site calls “[c]reat[ing] 'learning communities,' study groups, and team projects with individual accountability.” Indeed, these groups form mini-learning communities, which is a small-scale version of the high-impact learning community practice. I attempt to provide what Doyle (2008) comments students need which is “directions, resources, framework, and methods of accountability; timelines; rubric/grading system; and a meaningful and authentic task for the members to work on” (p. 90). Authentic tasks indeed encourage student investment. I have had such positive experiences with this system that I have started applying the same principles in many of my other classes in various ways.
The extra benefit of the “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment is that I can promote student research outside of the classroom, which is another high-impact practice implemented in a similar fashion by Fike (2011). The optional goal I identify on the assignment is that students may decide, with extra guidance from me, to present their final work at a conference. Not every student has such an experience, and, yet, these are the ones that shape their decisions about their careers. Undergraduate research is essential to students who are planning on going to graduate school. In addition, as Arredondo (1995) has found, “faculty who interact closely with undergraduates are in a position to evaluate students' abilities, talents, and skill levels during college” (p. 3). Encouraging such contact between students and myself helps me as a teacher, and it also helps me write recommendation letters or assist my students in other ways.
In the “Medievalist for a Semester” assignment, I clearly mention that the amount of work assigned for each Checkpoint is based on the understanding that the work will NOT be completed all in one day or in one sitting, but should be completed throughout the time allotted. The purpose of this disclaimer is to emphasize not only time on task, but, as Romero and Barbera (2011) comment, “quality learning time” (p. 125). I have various strategies embedded into my classes to achieve the same goal, especially when it comes to reading assignments. Erickson, Peters, and Strommer (2006) have found that “[d]irect instruction on 'how to get the most from assigned readings' is useful at any level of instruction, particularly so for first-year students” (p. 122). As a literature instructor, I find this to be an accurate statement. Thus, I created an exercise/activity that I have my students do on the second or third day of the class called “How to Read and Take Notes” (see Course Documents and Assignments). We take a short reading from that class and go through the steps in order to demonstrate ways of reading. Later in the semester, we return to this exercise, especially the list of approaches to reading literature. Related to this exercise is the “Wiki Moderator Week” assignment (see Course Documents and Assignments). I teach students how to use the Cornell note-taking system while completing the “How to Read” exercise. Students sign up for one week during the semester, during which they must take notes on the readings and discussions. They use these to create a Moderator Week page on the course wiki. They turn in both the notes and the page for a grade and feedback. In this way, the work is efficiently spread out among the students, they each practice taking detailed notes to provide for the rest of the class, and they spend more quality time on the material. To help ensure that students have completed the reading prior to class, I will frequently assign low-stakes “TED-Ed Lessons” (see Course Documents and Assignments). TED-Ed is an on-line system in which you can ask questions and set discussions. In addition, the digital feedback system is efficient, allowing me to write comments to each question as necessary. This method helps to encourage student accountability without the problems, including lowering of morale, associated with in-class quizzes.
Ken Bain in What the Best College Teachers Do (2004) asserts that “researchers discovered that if they can keep people from thinking that someone else might be viewing them through the lens of a negative stereotype, they can significantly change what those people accomplished” (p. 70). I cannot agree with this concept more, and it becomes more apparent to me all the time as I teach students who have very low self-esteem (for one reason or another), especially in terms of their ability to manage the expectations of college academics. Later he says that the best teachers “tend to look for and appreciate the individual value of each student” and “had great faith in students' ability to achieve” (p. 72). I think this is the key to communicating high expectations. If we simply assign work with the understanding that students will most likely fail it, there is a relatively good chance they will. Why should they invest if there is little chance of succeeding? It's like buying a lottery ticket. On the other hand, if we expect much from them and communicate that we believe they can succeed, then they can. Bain continues, “Trust in students also depended on the teacher's rejection of power over them. The educators we studied invited people to pursue ambitious goals and promised to help them achieve, but they left learners in control of their own education” (p. 74). Basically it boils down to: treat students as human beings with free will, but a need for guidance. Following the findings of Scager, Akkerman, Pilot, and Wubbels (2013), I tell my students on the first day that I KNOW the material is going to be difficult, especially given they are encountering rather unfamiliar types of literature, but that they can indeed be successful. Essentially, communicating high expectations is a balance of not giving up, holding students to the standards you set, and scaffolding the activities that get them there, providing feedback as they go – in other words, combining many of the Seven Principles.
Indeed, communicating high expectations also includes respecting diverse talents and ways of learning. While research has pretty well debunked the “myth of learning styles,” it is true that the reasons or motivations for students to invest in their learning are not one size fits all. Due to level of interest in the subject, background, capabilities, etc., what speaks to one will not necessarily speak to another. In fact, only one motivation may not be enough for even one student. This is encouraging; it suggests diversity, complexity, and individualism. Seldin (1995) states, “Valuing diversity means acknowledging that diversity and oppression exist and affect our lives. Diversity is not about lowering our standards; it is about creating ways for all students to meet the standards of academic excellence” (p. 105). My goal is to treat every student with the same respect. Different students have different abilities and start at different levels of cognitive ability and experience, but, nonetheless, every student deserves the education they are receiving and to do so in a safe environment. As Banks, et. al. (2001), asserts as one of their principles of diversity: “Schools should ensure that all students have equitable opportunities to learn and to meet high standards” (p. 198). The key in this assertion is “high standards.”

So much goes into teaching effectively. To create a “lasting impact,” students truly have to be involved deeply in their learning. We cannot, however, assume that all students will naturally or automatically know how to become that committed to their development. That is, after all, the definition of being a student: developing, becoming, evolving…learning. It in is our interest and theirs if we as instructors seek to devise ways to guide students beyond the surface of content and into the expansive valleys of invested learning.