This fall, faculty members currently teaching at the Accent Study Center in Rome came together for a professional development workshop. The topic of the workshop, organized and led by Antonella De Michelis, long-time faculty and Academic Coordinator in Rome, was how to best approach 21st-century learners and engage successfully with evolving student needs.
The assembled professors examined various aspects of their teaching, considering challenges and difficulties common to their classes, and shared possible solutions and strategies. Part of the discussion focused on pedagogy and active learning strategies that are based on student engagement. One common challenge that the group identified is to lead students to improve their critical thinking and source criticism skills.
To address this concern, De Michelis announced the Accent Learning Hub, a new online platform hosting various learning resources. Students can access several pre-recorded webinars that address topics such as note-taking, academic writing, test taking, and other skills that are crucial for students but that instructors typically do not have time to discuss during class. For some programs at Accent Rome, completion of these online modules is integrated in course assessment and contributes to the final grade.
Another topic of discussion was the unique challenges that come with teaching in the education abroad context. While study tours and site visits offer an invaluable learning opportunity for students, they require different teaching methods from the ones used in the classroom. The group compared strategies and shared tips on how to facilitate students’ experiential learning, all while navigating hordes of tourists and distracting Roman dogs.
The conversation also focused on teaching to this new generation of students, understanding their priorities, values, and the most frequent obstacles they face as learners. Specific attention was paid to the changes that the pandemic brought to classroom dynamics.
This workshop was not only an opportunity to compare pedagogical approaches and ensure the consistency of teaching across courses, but also a chance to come together as educators and compare experiences, reinforcing the sense of community among scholars of various disciplines.
To provide high-level educational content, Accent relies on a wide network of local faculty in each Study Center. All instructors have years of experience in the design and delivery of experiential courses in a U.S. education abroad context. To discuss potential courses or other ways to customize your education abroad program, please reach out to the Accent Development team at firstname.lastname@example.org