Educational Development Digest: November

Pedagogy and Practice

Self-care for both faculty and students

Social and emotional health and their impact on the classroom

Social Emotional Learning 

November can sometimes heighten anxiety for both faculty and students as the looming semester’s end makes the reality of final projects and papers, grading, finals preparation, and preparation for the spring semester (can’t even think about it yet!) a nearing reality.  This particular November arrives also with COVID-19 cases on the rise and a presidential election. 

It is important that we acknowledge this stressful fall and the mental and physical impact it can have on us and our teaching. James Lang in Small Teachings writes, “Teachers are fully realized human beings with emotions, attitudes, and other attributes that intersect with both teaching and learning” (p. 162). Let’s not forget this! 

On a biological level, emotions and stress can influence brain processing and chemistry (Armstrong, 2019; Hammond, 2015; Miller, 2014; Sprenger, 2020; van der Kolk, 2014; Wolfe, 2010), which can either enhance or impede learning. Lang (2016) also acknowledges that students in our courses, even on more regular basis might be distracted learning by emotions that result from relationships, failures and successes, world events, or development in politics (p. 162). 

So what is the implication for faculty in the classroom? What can we do to both support student learning and practice self-care?  

According to Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” 

Chiara Elmi at James Madison University writes that using this approach in the classroom focuses on the “quality of classroom interactions, academic development, motivation to learn, and teacher–student engagement through empirical practices, classroom activities that infuse social–emotional competencies into teacher–student interactions” (Elmi, 2020). So what are suggested strategies that work to accomplish this? 

Lang (2016) suggests 3 principles to guide your strategies and inform additional reading in this area: 1) Acknowledge the emotions in the room 2) Make it social, and 3) Show enthusiasm (pp. 190-191).   

Allison Posey (2019), author of Engage the Brain: How to Design for Learning that Taps into the Power of Emotion suggests that because “background experience and emotions help tag important information deemed relevant for higher-order cognitive processing” (p. 84), we need to reframe tasks to make them relevant to students by integrating choice and developing agency.  

Perhaps most importantly, key to both Lang (2016) and Posey (2019) is fostering interactions with and between students. Conley’s (2015) chapter capturing the history and application of SELs in higher education echos the importance of these relationships, and this is also reflected in  Elmi’s  (2020) discussion of a research study applying SEL in an Earth science course at a university. 

On a related note, outside of the classroom, we also need to remember self-care. Below are a few entry points into reflecting on and implementing self-care. We can encourage students to practice self-care too.  


  • Armstrong, T. (2019). Mindfulness in the classroom: Strategies for promoting concentration, compassion, and calm. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  • Conley, C. S. (2015). SEL in higher education. In Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice (pp. 197-212. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Psychology: Faculty Publications and Other Works.
  • Elami, C. (2020). Integrating social emotional learning strategies in higher education. European Journal of Investigation in Heath, Psychology and Education, 10(3), 848-858. https://10.3390/ejihpe10030061 
  • Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching & the brain: Promoting Authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  • Lang, J. M. (2016). Small teaching: Everyday lessons from the science of learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Miller, M. D. (2014). Minds online: Teaching effectively with technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
  • Posey, A. (2019). Engage the brain: How to design learning that taps into the power of Emotion. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  • Sprenger, M. (2020). Social emotional learning and the brain. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
  • Wolfe, P. (2010). Brain matters: Translating research into classroom practice. Alexandria, VA; ASCD.

NED Event Highlight

Upcoming Election-Related Events

Processing (election) emotions with acknowledgement, acceptance, and presence

November 4 @ 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | RSVP

ALL faculty are invited to gather in community on a 90-minute Zoom video call, to discuss issues surrounding the election results. Particularly in the current moment, topics such as policing, the pandemic and government’s response to it, barriers to voting, and others are highly racialized and politicized. What does this mean in terms of how we engage with our students, colleagues, families, communities, and even ourselves? How can we center our own wellness, and at the same time remain open to the way things are right now? 

Shifting the Conversation from Debate to Dialogue

November 12 @ 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM | RSVP

This round table discussion will focus on and discuss the difference between debate and dialogue. Participants will practice using debate and dialogue when in conversation with one another. We will discuss each approach and how and why to encourage dialogue in the classroom. 

This is an introductory session for those who have avoided conflict or disagreement in their classrooms/group meetings or who have had conversations go poorly. The session will provide example language to use with students and advice on how to set guidelines that allow for respectful communication across viewpoints. The session will also identify techniques that can be used to return students to a dialogue if the conversation begins to veer in a disrespectful direction. 

Academic Technology Tips

Zoom Polling and Reporting Capabilities 

Polls can be an effective activity in Zoom to help engage students by increasing class interactivity. This tool fits nicely with the “Interactivity/Community Process Model for the Online Education Environment” proposed by Lear, Ansorge and Steckelberg in 2010.  Customizing the polls to address student, course and instructor factors can help build a sense of community with motivating content that engages the learner. Polls can also help with active retrieval practice which is a popular method to support meaningful learning. Another benefit for leveraging polls during a session is the opportunity to strategically separate content which can help learners effectively manage cognitive load

Polls in Zoom can be generated in real-time, created before the session, and even stored as a template for future sessions. The following guide covers the details on how-to create and reuse polls in Zoom and then shows how to review the reports that contain the summaries of the launched polls in previous sessions.

View more Zoom resources

Initiatives Update

Accessibility Committee Listening Session

November 5, 2020 @ 2:00 PM

We hope that you consider participating in the Accessibility Committee’s November monthly meeting to share your voice on important elements for supporting each other as we move forward with improving accessibility across the system in the coming years. The accessibility committee was tasked with investigating processes, products and practices across the system and is comprised of individuals holding relevant accessibility roles across our institutions and appointed from the various bargaining units. The accessibility committee offers recommendations to the ASA Technology Council and partners with other councils and affinity groups on accessibility initiatives.

We would specifically like to hear from you on the following topics:

  1. Pros/cons about existing collaborative resources
    1. (Listserv, Team Sites, Zoom Meet-Ups)
    2. (NED Trainings Short Courses/Webinars)
    3. (Vendor Community Sites/Webinars)
  2. Any suggestions or concerns about sharing/showcasing your expertise
    1. Finding capacity for contribution
    2. Branding/specific to the system or your institution
    3. Unique campus/department needs
    4. IP or privacy/security/quality concerns
  3. Suggested solutions for a more accessible system
    1. Specific training/certifications
    2. Accountability/effective auditing methods feedback loop
    3. Keeping resources updated/centralized
    4. Nurturing the culture of accessible by design
    5. Fostering relevant collaborative resources across the system

Please come willing to share your thoughts on these topics on November 5, 2020 @ 2:00 pm. Those interested can reach out to Brock Behling for more information on how to join.

Share Your Voice

Conversations with Colleagues & Equity and Inclusion Coordinators Check-In

Conversations with Colleagues: Teaching Experiences Listening Session

November 17 @ 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | RSVP

Spring and Fall 2020 have presented many challenges to teaching and learning across Minnesota State campuses for instructors and students. There have also been many learning opportunities during this time period. During this month’s Conversation with Colleagues, we invite you to share your experiences with us in a listening session. We are seeking your input on the following: 

  • What resources are needed through your campus and/or system office level to help you be successful in teaching during this pandemic? 
  • What is lost/gained when a class is taught online?  
  • Describe your teaching experiences last spring and this fall. 
  • Share other comments or feedback about your teaching. 

We look forward to hearing your experiences. 

Equity and Inclusion Coordinators Monthly Check-In

November 4 @ 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM | RSVP

In collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Educational Innovations unit within Academic and Student Affairs, three Equity and Inclusion Coordinators are assisting with aligning, developing, and implementing a plan for comprehensive set of development opportunities to help faculty members build knowledge, skills, and abilities related to equity and inclusion efforts within the Network for Educational Development and Equity by Design.

As the coordinators have been working to develop plans, they want to provide an opportunity for colleagues from across Minnesota State to join a monthly check-in.  There is no formal agenda, just an opportunity for colleagues interested in talking about advancing equity and inclusion in our learning experiences.

Upcoming Events

Visit the NED Events Calendar to search for upcoming webinars, learning communities, short courses, and long courses.

One thought on “Educational Development Digest: November

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Up ↑