Special Teaching Leaves
BRUCE TORFF: During his leave in the fall of 2003, Bruce Torff conducted research concerning a topic relevant to his teaching duties at Hofstra: secondary teachers' beliefs about learning and teaching. The research involved the creation of a questionnaire, the Critical Thinking Belief Appraisal (CTBA), that taps teachers' beliefs about critical-thinking activities, i.e., beliefs that provide an indication of the extent to which teachers treat learners as memorizers or thinkers. The CTBA was then put to use in research leading to the publication of five articles.
CHARLES SMITH: For the past 20 years, Charles Smith has focused much of his research on developing effective teams. This teaching leave has allowed him to assess the current state of theory and practice related to this topic, and the degree to which it is being applied in the classroom. Simply putting students together in a group with an assignment is likely to result in a negative or neutral learning experience, rather than a positive one. On the other hand, applying group dynamics theory in simple ways can help us create conditions in which a group may develop a strong bond.