Solve a Teaching Problem: An Interactive Tool

A screen shot of the start page with a Go button and the three steps to the process

 

A. Summary

In three quick steps, Solve a Teaching Problem, a very useful online interactive from the Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University, walks instructors through 35+ common teaching/classroom management problems in six general categories.

  • Each of these six categories leads to "possible reasons for the problem you have selected."
  • Each of these likely reasons, when clicked, provides an explanation of the problem behaviour and offers specific strategies for managing the problem.
  • Clickable links to problems and reasons (and so suggested solutions) are provided below.
  • Note: Some of the provided solutions direct instructors to CMU-specific resources. Lakehead University has comparable resources in most areas. Seek out our local options.

1. General Categories of Problems

  • Attitudes & Motivation
  • Prerequisite Knowledge & Preparedness
  • Critical Thinking & Applying Knowledge
  • Group Skills & Dynamics
  • Classroom Behavior & Etiquette

2. How to Use the Problem-Solving Tool

Select from responsive lists below to do the following:

  • "Identify a PROBLEM encountered in teaching."
  • "Identify possible REASONS for the problem."
  • "Explore STRATEGIES to address the problem."

B. Solve a Teaching Problem

"Select the problem that best matches your situation":

1. Attitudes and Motivation

a. Students come late to class.

b. Students don't demonstrate critical thinking.

c. Students lack interest or motivation.

d. Students performed poorly on an exam.

e. Students don’t seek help when needed.

f. Students behave rudely in class.

g. Students don’t participate in discussions.

h. Students can't apply what they’ve learned.

i. Students don't come to lectures.

j. Students don’t keep up with the reading.

k. Students respond to course content and classroom dynamics in emotional and unproductive ways.

2. Prerequisite Knowledge & Preparedness

a. Students’ background knowledge & skills vary widely.

b. Students don't demonstrate critical thinking.

  • See B.1.b above

c. Students lack interest or motivation.

  • See B.1.c above

d. Students don't know how to do research.

e. Group projects aren’t working.

f. Students can't apply what they’ve learned.

  • See B.1.h above.

g. Students can't write.

h. Students don’t keep up with reading.

  • See B.1.j above

3. Critical Thinking & Applying Knowledge

a. Students’ background knowledge & skills vary widely.

  • See B.2.a above.

b. Students don't demonstrate critical thinking.

  • See B.1.b above.

c. Students don't know how to do research.

  • See B.2.d above.

d. Students can't apply what they’ve learned.

  • See B.1.h above.

e. Students can't write.

  • See B.2.g above.

4. Group Skills & Dynamics

a. Group projects aren’t working.

  • See B.2.e above.

5. Classroom Behaviors & Etiquette

a. One student monopolizes class.

b. Students come late to class.

  • See B.1.a above.

c. Students behave rudely in class.

  • See B.1.f above.

d. Group projects aren’t working.

  • See B.2.e above.

e. Students cheat on assignments and exams.

f. Students respond to course content and classroom dynamics in emotional and unproductive ways.

  • See B.1.k above.

6. Grading & Assessment

a. Students complain the exams are too hard.

b. Students complain about grades.

c. Students performed poorly on an exam.

  • See B.1.d above.

d. Students cheat on assignments and exams.

  • See B.5.e above.
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