Teach Smarter - Efficient and Effective Strategies
Course Outline

Course Fee: $180
Course Numbers: EED x701 24120, SED x701 24165
Standard Course Time: 30 hours
Semester Credits: Two (2) academic credits at the post-baccalaureate level (available for an additional fee)
Credit Issued by: Cal Poly Humboldt (refer to our Graduate Credit page for credit pricing and details)
Subject Area: Special Topics

This course has been developed and optimized for online delivery using the licensed title Teach Smarter - Efficient and Effective Strategies for Early Career Teachers, published by Routledge and authored by Adam Riches

Introduction/Course Description:

As a teacher, the more efficient you are, the less stressful work becomes, and the more effective you are, the more you can focus on teaching those in front of you. Teach Smarter is an essential course that helps early career teachers reduce their unnecessary workload by offering practical classroom strategies that can save you, and those you work with, time.

With a focus on keeping teaching simple and ensuring everything has a meaningful purpose, this course offers guidance on reducing workload through careful reflection and evaluation of your teaching practice. Offering ways to adjust your pedagogy and streamline your approaches in the classroom, Teach Smarter gives you more time to focus on what is important: helping your students progress.

Course Objectives/Program Outline

Module One: Smart Theory

Students will investigate and explore:

  • Can I teach smart?
  • The answer to everything
  • Where’s the research?
  • What does it mean to be reflective?
  • Cognitive Load Theory
  • Ten Principles of Instruction
  • Desirable Difficulty
  • Applying theory in a smart way
  • Wider ideas

Project 1: What’s Research Got to Do With It?
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Two: Classroom Space

Students will examine:

  • Classroom Layout
  • The Desks
  • The Students
  • The Displays
  • Desk or no desk?
  • Why is it important to consider your space?

Project 2: Keep it Simple
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Three: Planning

Students will become familiar with:

  • What to plan
  • Talking
  • Modeling
  • Being Responsive-the art of winging it
  • Sharing the load

Project 3: Does this Bring Me Joy?
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Four: Expectations

Students will investigate and explore:

  • Just behavior?
  • Less can be more
  • Clarity is key
  • Engagement
  • Consistency
  • Praise

Project 4: Do Your Students Meet Your Expectations?
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Five: Feedback

Students will become familiar with:

  • Making the distinction between marking and feedback
  • Monitoring tasks
  • Live feedback
  • Whole-class feedback
  • Peer feedback

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Six: Questioning and Reflecting

Students will explore:

  • Subject knowledge
  • Distribution
  • Commonality of language
  • Using the right type of question
  • Planning/Preparing/Implementing/Repeating
  • Keeping on keeping on
  • Reading up
  • Managing stress

Project 5: Questioning IS An ART Form
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Final Exam

Multiple choice questions taken from each module

Final Learning Statement

Learning statements should be in a narrative format – as opposed to an outline format. Depending on individual writing styles Learning statements should be 2-3 pages. The learning statement can vary according to individual style. Your learning statement should answer the broad question of "what did you learn?". To help get you thinking, here are some suggested questions:

  • What are the major concepts of the course that you have learned?
  • What new professional language have you acquired relating to the topic?
  • What teaching techniques for implementing new strategies in the classroom did you come away with?
  • Thinking back to your project reflections, were you surprised at the outcomes?
  • What new resources did you find in the study of the content?
  • As an educator, what new concepts will you now integrate into your teaching?
  • Are there any ideas that presented themselves as enlightening and useful?

--- Sample Course Project ---

Project #4 Overview: Do Your Students Meet Your Expectations?

In module 4, we learned that you can’t set and maintain expectations if you don’t think carefully about them beforehand.

For this project:

Take a moment to answer these questions in detail:

  • What is the most important thing for you with regard to the outcome of a lesson?
  • Which systems does your school have in place that you must follow with regard to expectations?
  • How do you want students to feel in your classroom?
  • Do you think your students understand what your expectations are for talking, writing, reading?
  • Do you have any non-academic expectations?
  • What are your expectations of yourself?
  • Setting the standard – where are your lines?

For Your Written Project Reflection Submission

After taking some time to answer the questions outlined above for this project, reflect on your process using the following bullet points as a guide:

  • What is your biggest aHa about your overall expectations in the classroom? Describe in detail.
  • What is your biggest aHa about your expectations of yourself? Describe in detail.
  • How do your expectations of yourself and your students compare or contrast?
  • Will you shift any of your expectations of yourself or your students after this project?
  • Why is it important to you that you make this change?

Visit the Module Projects section located within the Course Dashboard, and take a moment to share your findings by submitting your written project reflection.

Cal Poly Humboldt Credit Specifics

  • Academic Credit through Cal Poly Humboldt (CPH) is offered after successful completion of each course.
  • The 700 series semester credit is post-baccalaureate level appropriate for credentialed teachers which do not require admission to a graduate program.
  • Courses are letter graded on official transcripts from CPH.
  • CPH is the northernmost and westernmost institution in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.
  • CPH is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions.

Summer Option

If you are not currently teaching (ie. Summer break, you are a substitute teacher, etc.), each class offers you the ability to complete coursework independent of a classroom assignment.