Teaching Tactics are short, 400 word one-page manuscripts describing a successful teaching strategy that could be replicated by others.
Several Teaching Tactics are published in each issue of our journal, Teaching Theology & Religion, and are always available for free download.
Some exemplary Teaching Tactics are linked below, organized into a variety of topics.
Teaching Tactics always follow the same form:
- the context within which the strategy is used,
- the pedagogical purpose of the strategy,
- a brief description of the strategy itself,
- and analysis of why the strategy is effective.
Coppins, Wayne M.
Establishing a predicatable structure with discussion at the start of each class.
Gallagher, Eugene V.
Low stakes writing assignments to improve class discussions.
Hamm, Scott E.
Prompting student discussion using word clouds.
Hansen, Gary Neal
A method for convening discussion in large groups.
Killen, Patricia O'Connell
An analysis of what makes for good questions to prompt student discussions.
Designing effective discussion prompts when the professor had laryngitis.
Discussion prompts for small group work in a world religions course.
Discussion of art objects in a one week intensive course.
Creative Activities To Do In Groups
Students learn about Lutheranism by doing historical research of local congregations.
Irons, Kendra Weddle
An exercise that treats student groups unequally, to learn about empathetic identification with biblical figures.
A treasure hunt by which students learn about the attributes of God.
Students work collaboratively and in role play, to understand historical agents.
Role play helps students learn how far a custodian's salary goes.
Nichols, Michael D.
Using debate to introduce a topic.
Strategies To Encourage Students To Reflect On What Or How They Learn
Students write a history of the course to learn about historical methodology.
Students compare two theology textbooks to gain a new understanding of diversity.
Harkins, Angela Kim
Take home writing prompts to get mid-semester feedback on the course while simultaneously helping students to make connections to their other courses.
Medine, Carolyn M. Jones
Using study sheet handouts to help students learn from lectures, in a compressed "Maymester" class.
Woodard, Randall, and Woodard, Rose
Students learn to create models in order to increase their grasp of nuanced theological arguments.
Anderson, Bradford A.
Students are exposed to a reading of sacred text in the native language.
Helping students to reflect on their reading practices.
Students reflect on the writing rubric used to grade their writing, in an online or hybrid course.
Students discuss the nature of religion by comparing brief descriptions of founders.
Loving, Gregory D.
Students reflect on a religious practice they have selected to experience.
Marmon, Ellen L.
A free-write exercise helps students reflect on and articulate their values.
Students work in groups to reflect on the learning goals of the course.
Students learn some of the difficulties of translation when interpreting the bible.
Students reflect on their reading practices for class.
Koenig, Sara M.
Weekly schedule designed to encourage students to bring their questions and concerns to the subject matter.
Students apply earlier material to assess current reading assignment.
Overview and resources for creating concept maps to organize ideas.
Building review into a lecture.
Activities For The First Day Of Class
Rubel, Nora L.
Getting discussion started about course content through a no-stakes quiz on the first day of class.
Encouraging discussion of significant course material on the first day of class.
Students work collaboratively to define religion.
Low-stakes quiz at the start of a unit to encourage student discussion and engagement.
Allowing students to establish parts of the curriculum of a course.
Miller, Charles William
To introduce and discuss course content on the first day of class, students work in groups to list what they know about the topic.
On the first day of class, students discuss course content by discussing classification strategies.
Strategies For Improving Students Reading Comprehension
Coleman, Monica A.
Students learn theology by working in pairs through the semester.
Students increase comprehnsion of reading by learning to analyze the structure of a text.
A worksheet to help students place each new theological text into its broader conversation partners.
Jordon, Sherry E.
Low-stakes writing assignments to improve students engagement with texts.
M'mworia, Damaris K.
Students take turns in the role of "teaching assistant" to increase motivation and attention to the material.
Davis, Kenneth G.
Creating a safe context to discuss race, ethnicity, and language.
Helping students get started focusing a research topic.
Floyd-Thomas, Stacey M.
TTR Teaching Tactic: analysis of effective use of case studies for teaching ethics.
Hedahl, Susan K.
A method for improving students' sermons.
Koenig, Sara M.
Dealing with emotional outbursts or rude student behavior.
Students work in groups to study on line presence of African-American religious groups.
Mikoski, Gordon; Cady, Stephen, and Zirschky, Andrew
Using a series of case studies through the semester in a Christian Education classroom.
Thompson, Jeremy P.
Using an acronym to help students remember basic biblical chronology and plot outline.
Thompson, John M.
Students memorize and recite a selection from another tradition's scripture.
A group process to design an interfaith ritual in which every religion is respected and no religion is privileged.
Woodard, Randall, and Woodard, Rose
Providing a series of web pages for students to visit and respond to in online posts.