Fostering Intellectual Engagement through Active Learning Series (FIEAL)

 Work with OFE Faculty Leader Patricia Virella on invigorating your teaching and students’ engagement through specific practices that ensure active learning.

The Imperative for Mastering Active Learning Instruction

Today more than ever faculty are finding it challenging to engage students in the intellectual enterprise. Practices that worked well in the past – the Socratic method, appealing content, short assignments – seem not to be working as well today. Faculty report that, while some students are highly engaged, a significant portion of students who are diligent in their class attendance appear to struggle with engagement, suggesting they are present but not learning. 

Clearly the pandemic, its long tail, learning loss and the “development of ineffective learning habits in relaxed circumstances” (Kinzie, 2013), and now Generative AI have encouraged passivity in many students. What’s more, both faculty and student surveys suggest that students are under-engaged, and many are not taking on key activities essential to engaged, active learning. 

The 2021 NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) report indicates that Montclair students can be much better engaged in their learning. Specific areas where we believe Montclair students can do better, as evidenced by the NSSE, include:

Higher Order Thinking
  • 4b: Applying facts, theories, or methods to practical problems or new situations

Learning Strategies
  • 9a: Identified key information from reading assignments
  • 9b: Reviewed your notes after class
  • 9c: Summarized what you learned in class or from course materials

Reflective Thinking
  • 2a: Combined ideas from different courses when completing assignments 
  • 2d: Examined the strengths and weaknesses of our own voices on a topic or issue
  • 2g: Connecting ideas from your courses to your prior experiences and knowledge

Join OFE and Patricia Virella for our Fostering Intellectual Engagement through Active Learning (FIEAL) series to develop and improve strategies for guiding students in active learning toward intellectual engagement.

The FIEAL Facilitator

Dr. Patricia M. Virella, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, has joined OFE as a Faculty Leader for AY24. Dr. Virella’s research focuses on implementing equity-oriented leadership through leader responses, programmatic interventions, and preparation. Dr. Virella also studies equity-oriented crisis leadership examining how school leaders can respond to crises without further harming marginalized communities. She seeks to answer research questions to enable transformation and liberation in school leaders, districts and policies.

The Series

There are two ways to participate:

  • Attend any or all of the workshops, offered monthly in the Fostering Intellectual Engagement through Active Learning [FIEAL] series. Attendance is open to all Montclair faculty and staff.
  • Join a FIEAL Community of Practice, with twice monthly meetings, where instructors discuss and strategize implementation of the monthly topics. Participants, including faculty and staff, will work together to deepen their use of active learning in their courses, documenting and reporting outcomes of their experimentations.  Instructors will incorporate an active learning technique along with the accompanying intellectual skill in their teaching. Participants will  discuss the outcomes, review student work, and work to describe how active learning has or can influence their teaching while increasing the intellectual rigor or students.

The first FIEAL CoP will launch in Fall 2023. Interested in joining? Please complete this form.

A second CoP will launch in Spring 2024. The Spring group will be open to new participants as well as faculty from the fall who wish to work on their practice further. 

The Workshop Schedule

Fall 2023

Spring 2024: TBA

  • January TBA: Using Public Narrative to Foster Speaking and Listening Skills with GenAI
    In this workshop, participants will draw on Marshall Ganz’s public narrative framework to engage students in telling stories that motivate others. They will  design assignments that use Generative AI to create presentation decks and speeches, provide learning opportunities for students to present and listen actively to speeches.

The Community of Practice

Fall 2023

  • September 21 @ 10 am: Kickoff meeting. At this first meeting, participants will decide on a regular meeting time. Interested in joining but can’t make this meeting? Please complete this form.

Last Modified: Friday, September 15, 2023 3:54 pm