| by Jim Ralph


Recorded talks and event resources for the January Contemporary Teaching series on holistic, embodied approaches to teaching and learning can be found at go.middlebury.edu/contemporaryteaching.

In early January as part of the CTLR’s Contemporary Teaching Series, Becky Thompson gave over 40 Middlebury listeners much to think about on the theme of teaching with tenderness. She directly addressed a topic of concern for many Middlebury faculty—lower levels than expected of class attendance and participation. She stressed that the pandemic has disrupted so much in the lives of our students and, not surprisingly, their connection to their education.

In response to a question about how she handles student absences, she said that she notes if students miss a string of classes. She then reaches out directly to them asking if they are okay, using various methods, until she gets a response. This approach has almost always led to those students she contacted attending subsequent classes. It is a time-consuming response, but it is effective, and it falls nicely with an approach that emphasizes seeing the whole student.

Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research
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