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Overcoming Apathy in the Classroom: Strategies for Teaching from the Psychology of Learning

Workshop Description

What can instructors do to facilitate learning when they encounter students who seem uninterested and even apathetic toward course content and assignments? Part of the responsibility for learning belongs to students, but as faculty, we can find new ways to motivate, inspire, and maybe even cajole students to learn. This workshop will demonstrate and explain how instructors can make classroom learning, perhaps one of the most artificial learning settings, a more meaningful experience for students. The presenter uses theories of learning and motivation as a basis for creating strategies to increase student engagement in course content and class sessions. Participants will have an opportunity to try out and experience first-hand some of these techniques. Topics covered in this session include a discussion of active learning, motivation, collaborative learning, metacognition, learning theory, and interpersonal communication.

The Workshop Facilitator

Dr. Todd Zakrajsek is the new executive director of the Center for Faculty Excellence at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Prior to that, he was the inaugural director of the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching at Central Michigan University. Previously, he was the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Southern Oregon University, where he also taught in the psychology department as a tenured associate professor. Dr. Zakrajsek has published and presented widely on the topic of student learning, including workshops and conference keynote addresses in twenty-five states, and Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden over the past several years.  His workshop and presentation at this past year’s Teaching Professor Conference was chosen as one of the best, based on evaluations from participants. 

Dr. Zakrajsek's Vita (PDF)

Workshop Flyer (Word doc)

  • Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Dr. Stephanie Taylor-Davis, Director
    103 Stabley Library
    429 South Eleventh Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-7800
  • Fax: 724-357-2281