Snapshot: A Staging Strategy to Improve Engagement

Snapshot: A Staging Strategy to Improve Engagement

counter cross staging

At the recent TILE Fall Kickoff, instructors teaching in TILE this semester shared a variety of insights and strategies to improve their teaching and students’ learning in TILE.

Theatre Arts Instructor David McGraw offered a basic theatre technique to guide how an instructor should move while a student is speaking and sitting at a round table.  

Challenge: How to engage the entire classroom during instructor-mediated discussions in a room with various student viewpoints and no central focal point.

Strategy:  “Counter-cross” Technique

McGraw suggests the instructor position herself directly across the table from the student who is speaking, thus allowing an optimum number of students to see the facial reactions of either or both the speaker and instructor. 

In addition, this positioning helps encourage students to project their voices more loudly than if the instructor approached the student. When an instructor is beside or behind a student in a TILE classroom, the student tends to lower their voice.

Do you have any techniques for fostering eye contact in an active learning classroom? Share them with us: tile@uiowa.edu