Touro Professors 'Excite and Ignite'

Faculty Panel Focuses on Bringing Out the Best in Our Students

March 19, 2014

Such was a key takeaway from a Touro College faculty panel entitled, “Lighting the Spark to Bring Out Our Students' Best,” which focused on effective techniques to engage students and transform classrooms into proactive, productive learning environments. Consisting of Gena Bardwell and Richard Green, both of Touro’s department of Speech and Communication, and Thomas Rozinski of the department of Political Science, the panel produced a lively discussion that explored the power and importance of language, audience and music.

Noting that she’s encountered a fair share of nervous students who are hesitant to participate in classroom discussions, Bardwell advised teachers to help build up student's confidence by making them fall in love with the sound of their own voices.

“Language is there to excite and ignite,” she said.

When preparing students for public speaking, Green said he tries to make students comfortable by having them tell personal stories and letting them generate their own ideas for speeches.

Rozinski stressed that music is a particularly powerful tool for engagement. To demonstrate how he helps his political science students understand the complex concept of justice described in Plato’s "Republic," Rozinskig played the catchy “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat,” a song from the musical “Guys and Dolls.”

“Music has a specific set of vivid memory cues,” he said.

As the music and laughter spilled out of the assembly room, there was no doubt this panel put its best practices to use by engaging the rapt audience of faculty members—all of whom appeared eager to try out the panelists’ advice in their own classrooms.