Presidents' Colloquium

"Breakthroughs in the Classroom: Reviving Teaching and Learning with Decoding the Disciplines"

Teachers widely report that there is no pleasure like your pleasure when your students "get it." Too often the classroom is a place of frustration for both teachers and students. Yet it often isn't clear where to start making changes and how to institute these changes without being overwhelmed. In our talk we will introduce you to the Decoding the Disciplines Methodology, which begins with the classroom problem you as a teacher care most about and guides you gradually to a solution to that problem. We will follow the work of one teacher over three years as she improves the ability of her students to identify and produce arguments. During the talk we will provide opportunities for the audience to discuss their own classroom "bottlenecks" and how they might begin to navigate through them.

David PaceDavid Pace is an emeritus professor of European History at Indiana University, a co-founder of the Freshman Learning Project, the chair of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the 2005 recipient of the American Historical Association’s Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award.  In addition to his publications in intellectual history, he is the co-author of Decoding the Disciplines: Helping Students Learn Disciplinary Ways of Thinking and has published articles on the scholarship of teaching and learning in The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, Arts and Humanities, National Teaching and Learning Forum, History Teacher, College Teaching, American Historical Association PerspectivesTo Improve the Academy, and in volumes published in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.

Leah ShopkowLeah Shopkow is a scholar of medieval historiography in her disciplinary work, which provided a natural segue into history pedagogy. She is a founding co-director and the PI of the History Learning Project (HLP). Her most recent publications include "What 'Decoding the Disciplines' has to offer 'Threshold Concepts,'" in Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning (2010) and, with  the other HLP directors, "The Union of  Epistemology and Teaching" in The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning In and Across the Disciplines (forthcoming).  She has presented papers and given workshops at ISSoTL, the Wisconsin Faculty College, and the Teaching Professor Conference, the Irish National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) and the International Threshold Concepts Conference, the Australian National History Workshop, and the Australian History Association, as well as workshops at individual colleges and universities, and she is a participant in the American Historical Association Tuning Project. She keeps up with the disciplinary research, however, and has most recently published "Connections or Three Stories about Life along the Road: The Survival of the Benedictine Monastery of Andres," Viator 41:2 (2010): 227-56. She is currently working on a critical edition and translation of the Chronicle of Andres (c. 1220-1234, Pas-de-Calais).

Keynote session materials

Handouts (Word)

Keynote supplementary article

Díaz, A., Middendorf, J., Pace, D., & Shopkow, L. (2008).  The History Learning Project : A Department "Decodes" Its Students, Journal of American History, Vol. 94, No. 4 (March 2008):1211-24.


"Decoding the Disciplines: Helping Students Learn Disciplinary Ways of Thinking" David Pace & Joan Middendorf (Eds.) (2004)

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