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Department of Education

Student Centered Teaching at Tufts

Welcome to the Department of Education's professional development series on student centered teaching. Tufts University faculty members from across disciplines and departments are captured on video while teaching in their classrooms, and then later interviewed as they observe themselves in real time and reflect on specific moments of interaction with their students. The series seeks to share insights on how faculty members elicit students' ideas and questions, interpret and respond to their thinking, and encourage disciplinary practices of reasoning.

Silas Pinto
Education 253

Silas Pinto's Biological Bases of Behavior and Learning class was captured in the Spring semester of 2017. Second year School Psychology students review and discuss two neuro-psychological testing instruments. The discussion centers around the nuances of how the brain processes and outputs information using two similar motor-integration tests. The approach, validity and cultural considerations are raised in the discussion.
Sabina Vaught
Education 167 Critical Race Theory

Sabina Vaught's Spring 2015 class on Critical Race Theory examined legal and educational theory and practice across a range of contexts and issues. In this class meeting, Professor Vaught guides undergraduate and graduate students in small group discussions as they engage complex questions of race and schooling as they operate in larger contexts of legal rights. Students are discussing ideas and dilemmas from readings that include TribalCrit, LatCrit, and Vaught's own research.
Steve Cohen
Education 01

This video, captured in the Spring 2014 semester, features Professor Steve Cohen and his Education 1, School and Society, class. The class of fifty students alternates between small group and whole class discussion. On this day, they looked at the events of June 11, 1963 when Governor George Wallace "stood in the schoolhouse door" to prevent the integration of the University of Alabama. That was the first event of an important day in civil rights history.
Sarah Pinto
Bodies in Motion

Sarah Pinto's Fall 2015 undergraduate anthropology class, "Bodies in Motion," visited the exhibit, "Manna" at the Tufts Art Gallery. The exhibit shared masterworks from the Tufts University permanent collection, and students explored how bodies can be represented and interpreted in political, historical, or socio-economic ways. Professor Pinto reflects on the visit as a pedagogical experiment, putting her in an interesting position of learner and professor.
Tim Atherton
Physics 12

Tim Atherton's Physics 12 class was beginning the study of electrostatics in the second meeting of the course, in the Fall 2014 semester. The lecture centered on demonstrations with a van de Graaff generator, and the students had things to ask and say about what they saw. Professor Atherton discusses choices to veer from his plans, working to be responsive and flexible to students' questions and ideas, which he saw as bringing the class closer to scientific practices.
Kris Manjapra
History 80

This video features a small seminar History 80 classroom with Professor Kris K. Manjapra focusing on Empire and Enlightenment and The High Tide of Liberalism. The episode features students discussing writings of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, French political thinker, Alexis de Tocqueville, and British philosopher, John Stewart Mill. The class explores the intersection of society and politics and the universality of reason. The video was captured in the Fall of 2013.
Sam Thomas
Organic Chemistry

Chemistry Professor Sam Thomas introduced undergraduate students to advanced concepts in his organic chemistry class videotaped in the Spring 2015 semester. Topics included correlation spectroscopy, which concerns how protons are coupled, and the formation of polymers and products like polyurethane. Professor Thomas discusses how this class marked his first time teaching some of these concepts and reflects on his pedagogical strategies.
David Hammer
Physics 11

David Hammer is a professor of Education and Physics. David's approach to teaching reflects his and others' research on learning, in particular with respect to students' learning how to learn. The episode shows his attempts to elicit and work with students' ideas and questions. It was videotaped in early Spring, 2013, by doctoral students as part of their research on student engagement, as the class was just starting to think about the Newtonian concept of force. This video was the pilot episode for the series.