Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

Transforming Teaching 101


Guiding Principles IconGuiding Principles

  • maintain and strengthen your commitment to institutional priorities around inclusivity, equity, and diversity; decolonization and Indigenization; active learning; aligned assessment; and experiential learning
  • play to your teaching strengths while expanding your repertoire of teaching tools and strategies
  • continue to place learners at the heart of the educational experience
  • adopt and adapt pedagogical strategies that will serve you throughout your teaching career
  • choose asynchronous approaches wherever possible

Transform Your Teaching

Transforming Teaching 101 Infographic (PDF, KB)

TRANSFORM YOUR TEACHING; STAGE 1: REFLECT;Critical Reflection is a key part of any teaching practice (Brookfield 2017). In the Spring 2020 'pivot' to remote learning ask yourself: What successes did you have? What resources did you draw on to achieve those successes? What elements of your teaching that under your control can help you improve? STAGE 2: IMPROVISE; Apply the mindset of improvisational theatre to your work. As you consider what to do with your course(s) next year, say "Yes, and..." to take risks, build on ideas, and try something new.
STAGE 3: REVISE; Recognize the balance between idea generation and overwhelming yourself. Use the Rule of 2s Worksheet to focus on what matters most to you, while still putting learners at the heart of the educational experience.
STAGE 4: CONNECT; - Use the Self-Assessment Tool to receive curated Transforming Teaching Toolkit resource recommendations. - Share your ideas with colleages and hear from them: small supprotive networks make a big difference. - Contact the CTL if you need additional support! CONTACT US: CTL@QUEENSU.CA; WWW.QUEENSU.CA/CTL

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Transforming Teaching 101
2 more sessions available

August 26: Register Now
September 1: Register Now



Transforming Teaching 101

Watch the Transforming Teaching 101 webinar from May 20, 2020.


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Transforming Teaching 101 Handout (Word, 113KB)


Remote Teaching - The Student Perspective

For a student perspective on best practices in remote teaching and learning, see this video from the Engineering Teaching and Learning Team. The examples are engineering-specific, but the principles are universal.

Adopting and Adapting an Improv Mindset

Our inspiration to adopt and adapt practices of improvisational theatre for teaching and learning comes from the work of Rossing and Hoffman-Longtin (2015). In improv theatre, actors typically work in groups to create theatrical works on the spot without a script. Obviously in such an environment, collaboration and teamwork is critical. Drawing on many improv theatre theorists and practitioners, Rossing and Hoffman-Longtin summarize four key characteristics of improv that can serve collaborators well even outside the theatre world: “1) accept all offers, 2) recognize gifts, 3) build on every idea, and 4) support fellow players.” (p.7-8) These actions and attitudes are contained in the notion of saying “yes, and” when presented with an idea or challenge.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, instructors were presented with a rapid shift to remote learning. An instructor unwilling to adopt a “yes, and” improv mindset might have said “No way. I’m just going to cancel the rest of my classes.” But someone using a “yes, and” approach might have gone through the following thought process:

OK, the last two weeks of this course are now mandated to be remote-delivery. Yes, and I’m going to redesign my final exam to be a take-home exam so I don’t have to worry about online proctoring. Yes, and I’m going to give options for students to do a written, video, or podcast exam so that they can demonstrate their learning in a manner that works best for them during this stressful time. Yes, and I’m going to ask one of my colleagues who’s an onQ course management expert to walk me through how to use the assignment dropbox.

Of course, this thought process doesn’t happen in a bubble—one of the critical pieces of improv theatre is that it is most often done collaboratively. “Yes, and” also involves bouncing ideas off of others, learning from their wisdom, and sharing wisdom of your own.


Brookfield, Stephen D. 2017. Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Rossing, Jonathan P. and Krista Hoffman-Longtin. 2015. “Improv(ing) the Academy: Applied Improvisation as a Strategy for Educational Development.” To Improve the Academy 35(2): 303-325. https://doi.org/10.1002/tia2.20044