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ACUE Focus: Deena Martin

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

More than 153 UA-Pulaski Technical College faculty have improved their teaching practices through a program with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). This rigorous, evidence based, 25-week course engages instructors with independently validated research to improve student achievement and close equity gaps. ACUE Focus is a question and answer series where faculty share their experiences with ACU.

Deena MartinDeena Martin
Assistant Teaching Professor of Literacy

1. Which ACUE course did you complete?

Effective Reaching Practices
Inspiring Inquiry and Lifelong Learning
Promoting Active Learning Online

2. Was completing the course worth the time and effort you invested? Why?

I have enjoyed all the ACUE courses I have taken. They have given me a moment to reflect on best teaching practices while also gaining some new skills. I think it is critical as an educator to continuously learn and improve on our teaching practices.

3. What key takeaways or teaching practices impacted your teaching the most? Why?

Anything that I can immediately use with students is a plus for me. I loved the fishbowl activity. I also frequently use the think, pair, share activity with students.

4. Can you describe a specific teaching practice or positive interaction you had with students as a result of your learning in the ACUE course? What did the student(s) say or do?

I love utilizing strategies where students are able to share their muddiest and clearest point without student recognition. This makes the students feel safe while also expressing information that allows me to know if I need to backup and reteach a section or clarify information. Students truly appreciate when I give them post-it notes and have them place their “answer” on the board under the appropriate question heading. It not only allows student questions/comments to be addressed anonymously, but it also allows the entire class to receive clarification in a safe, risk-free environment.

5. As you know, each module in the ACUE course asks participants to implement practices in the classroom and then reflect on that implementation. Could you talk a little about what it felt like to try new things with your students?

I love trying new things with students. Sometimes it works with one class and sometimes it doesn’t work the same with a different class. It’s a challenge to back up and adjust and tweak the “new” practice. Most practices I have tried have been successful; however, the ones that weren’t just needed a bit of adjustment.

6. Why do you think it is important to view teaching as a lifelong skill that you continually refine?

Teaching is definitely a lifelong skill. It is imperative that as educators we stay relevant not only in the content we teach but also relevant for our student population. I love learning alongside my students and view it as a complete privilege to continue learning with them!

7. What’s one word you would use to describe your experience in the ACUE course and why?

Investment- We are investing in our students and ourselves when we continue to learn. I truly value that UA-PTC has given us this “investment” and gift to continue sculpting our practices and most importantly helping students achieve their potential.