This page was developed by members of the Core Curriculum Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences. It includes links to many resources for you to use as you look for new ideas about teaching. We hope it will be helpful and would appreciate any feedback or additional links you can recommend; please send to

Teaching techniques and sample activities

Below is a list of topics related to teaching. Under each topic is a list of websites that contain information, techniques and activities that may be useful to you.

Encouraging and improving class discussion

Socratic questions

Group work and team work

Active learning

Case-based teaching

Cooperative learning

Lectures and large classes

Teaching Resources

Office of Educational Development, University of California at Berkeley

Check out this link for a “buffet” of techniques from UC Berkeley. Topics include designing, teaching, and evaluating courses.

Resources & Advice

Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University

Includes many helpful sections of resources and advice. Derek Bok is the author of a number of books that discuss college teaching and learning, including Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ). 

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, University of Michigan

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) allow instructors to monitor students’ progress throughout the term. CATs help answer the questions, “What are my students learning? How effectively am I teaching?” The articles and links in this section provide comprehensive information about CATs, including their purpose and their use across disciplines.

Active Reading

The Writing Center at Illinois Wesleyan University

This page summarizes some Active Reading ideas taken from John C. Bean’s book, Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom.

Recommended books and articles


Angelo, T., & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Angelo and Cross provide suggestions on how to integrate assessment into instruction to keep students engaged and motivated and professors informed about the effectiveness of their teaching. It offers step-by-step guidance for fifty classroom assessment techniques.

Bean, J. (2001). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bean provides a “how-to” guide for designing writing and critical thinking activities for inspiring and motivating students. He demonstrates how to integrate writing into other critical thinking activities, e.g. inquiry discussions, simulation games, classroom debates, and interactive lectures.

Davis, B. (1993). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Davis shares a collection of teaching tools that cover both traditional tasks and newer concerns such as responding to diversity and using technology. The practical strategies and suggestions come from effective teachers and the literature on teaching and learning. Included are tips on discussion strategies, group work, role-playing, homework, and testing and grading.

Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach To Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Fink emphasizes the critical nature of the thinking and planning professors must do in order to ensure student learning. To support professors’ efforts to create significant learning experiences for their students, Fink offers information and suggestions regarding active learning, educative assessment, a taxonomy of significant learning, and the concept of a teaching strategy.

McKeachie, W. (2002). McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

McKeachie blends theory and practice, has a constructivist approach and favors discussion over lecture, but offers numerous ideas for improving the lecture approach. The book offers flexible tools for faculty members to use to maximize learning for all students. He taps the knowledge of recognized gurus for technology in teaching, motivation, and laboratory instruction.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Learner-Centered Teaching helps teachers look beyond content delivery to the learning process and objectives and how to connect them with their teaching and curriculum. Weimer encourages instructors to focus on what and how students are learning, how they are retaining and applying their learning, and how current learning positions them for future learning.


Steadman, M. & Svinicki (1998). CATS: A student’s gateway to better learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 75 (Fall): 13-20.
Steadman and Svinicki promote and defend the use of CATs—Classroom Assessment Techniques—based on cognitive theory’s claim that the active involvement of the learner is required in order for learning to occur.

Critical thinking: resources and activities

When we talk about critical thinking pedagogy, we are not referring simply to pedagogy that challenges our students to think and reason more carefully than they do. Nor are we referring to instruction in the fundamentals of argument. Rather, we are referring to a particular system of teaching whose aim is to break down a student's critical thinking into discrete activities, and then to show students how to reflect carefully on each of these activities in order to sharpen their thinking skills.

What is Critical Thinking? Some Definitions

  • Huitt, W. (1998). Critical thinking: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.
  • Critical Thinking Skills - Definitions and Assessment from; includes definitions and teaching of critical thinking in specific disciplines.

Rubrics and Skills Lists

Teaching Critical Thinking

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