Best Teaching Practices

Best Practices

The words "best practices" written on a chalkboard


“Best practices” connect relevant educational research to in-course application to help instructors do the following:

  • Inject rigour into the curriculum and its presentation
  • Develop students’ thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Motivate, engage, and prompt students to learn

While the entire “Resources” section of the site addresses “best practices” for university-level teaching, this section covers other important but more “miscellaneous” issues not found under the specific topics listed in the left column.

Structured Silence

Decorative: Over a statue's hand is written, "Silence is a rhythm too."


"Structured Silence" (post) suggests ways to "help people become comfortable with silence as an integral part of any discussion session" rather than having "lulls in a discussion ... experienced as awkward and interpreted to mean that nothing is happening."

1. Purposes of Structured Silence

Memorization of Jargon

Decorative: A human profile with three Post Its stuck on the head in the brain area


"Why Should I Memorize This Stuff When I Have Google and a Calculator?" (post) briefly examines why field-specific vocabulary ("jargon") is worth memorizing, "some possible ways of facilitating rapid acquisition of the jargon in your course," and some "cautions against memorizing."

  • “[M]emorization of details has a short shelf life."
  • "Better to go for a deeper understanding of the materials, because those memories will last longer."

1. Why Memorize Jargon

What to Do Between Assessments

Decorative: A kitten between two bunnies


A. "What Happens Between Assessments?" (post) outlines "seven principles for performance-based instruction to implement" between assessments.

  • Often, "performance assessments are better suited than traditional tests to measure what really counts: whether students can apply their knowledge, skills, and understanding in important, real-world contexts."
  • "If we expect students to improve their performance on these new, more authentic measures, we need to engage in 'performance-based instruction' on a regular basis."

B. The 7 Principles

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