Teaching Toolkit

As Middlebury faculty, many of us have identified concerns around classroom climate and tried to share the teaching tools that enable deeper learning and respectful, wide-ranging discussions.  Sometimes, though, those insights get lost.  This teaching toolkit is designed by Middlebury faculty for Middlebury faculty.  Each link below identifies a goal for our classrooms.  Click through to see illustrative examples from our campus and specific strategies used by your colleagues. 


I want students to treat one another equitably and learn how to manage the discomfort that arises.

I want to effectively lead discussions on contentious issues, modeling openness and respect.

I want to help my students consider alternate perspectives and critique their own views.

I want to make sure that, when students take the lead, the information they present is accurate.

I want to engage with students that seem uninterested in the material.


Want to learn more?

This toolkit not the endpoint, but a starting point for thinking about our classrooms.  If you are seeking to explore this further, here are a few ideas:

  • Keep reading: Many strategies above are used effectively in other educational settings and institutions.  For another set of examples, see Essential Partners’ guide to the Dialogic Classroom.
  • Reach out to a Middlebury colleague: The tools presented here were offered by two groups of faculty: (1) two dozen participants in a Fall 2018 lunch series on classroom climate, and (2) the Spring 2019 EL Faculty Fellows cohort.  We agreed to share their names so that you might continue the conversation in person.  The EL Fellows are listed here.  The classroom climate lunch group, by division:
    • Humanities: Elizabeth Morrison, James Berg, Leger Grindon, Ata Anzali, Larry Yarbrough
    • Sciences: Mark Spritzer, Lindsay Repka, Emily Proctor, Susan DeSimone
    • Languages: Marcos Rohena-Madrazo, Linsey Saint-Claire, Tom Beyer, Gloria Gonzalez-Zenteno
    • Arts/ Interdiscliplinary: Cheryl Faraone, Catherine Wright, Stephen Hoffman
    • Sociology: Michelle McCauley, Martin Abel, Chong-suk Han, Erick Gong, Kemi Fuentes-George, Jessica Holmes, Sarah Stroup
  • Convene your own conversation: small group conversations built over time can provide new insights into teaching Middlebury students.  CTLR and various departments are great places to convene your own group.  For one model, you can see the justification for the lunch series and the plan for our six lunches – Faculty Dialogues Fall 2018 lunches classroom climate