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Wednesday, June 22 • 15:45 - 16:35
CON04.09 - Student Centered Teaching: When the Students Become the Teachers

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“Docendo discimus …By teaching we learn”

In a letter to Lucillius, Seneca the Younger gave voice to a truth which many contemporary professors have affirmed, students learn most deeply when they teach to others the material they are learning (Kirkegard, Gulz & Silvervarg, 2014). When students teach course material, multiple benefits arise: students develop a strong sense of commitment to the subject matter (Miller, Groccias & Miller, 2001); students “actively construct a shared sense of meaning about course concepts with their instructor and teaching partners” (Wagner & Gansermer-Toft, 2005); and students have deeper and more enduring comprehension of the material (Fiorella & Mayer, 2014). Peer to peer teaching occurs when students deliver small sections of course material, when they instruct each other in small groups, when they peer-review each other’s written assignments, when they work with the community beyond the traditional walls of the university, and when they can speak out of their cultural traditions and experiences that are unique to their situation.

The presenters of this session represent a cross-section of disciplines from literature to mathematics. The authors have developed a wide variety of teaching techniques that place students in a “teaching role” including in-class debates, modified team-based-learning, games, and on-line peer reviews of papers. In the opening section of the presentation we will discuss a variety of practical, transferable teaching techniques that allow students to take on a teaching role. Beyond the classroom setting, presenters have also developed forums in which students become active presenters and advocates through community engagement and service learning. Helping students succeed requires that they receive feedback, and during the presentation we will review different techniques of peer-assessment that help students understand how their work as teachers affects others (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 1999).


Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (1999). Peer learning and assessment. Assessment and Evaluation In Higher Education, 24(4), 413.

Fiorella, L., & Mayer, R. E. (2014). Role of expectations and explanations in learning by teaching. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 2, 75-85.

Kirkegaard, C., Gulz, A., & Silvervarg, A. (2014). Introducing a callenging teachable agent. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 8523, 53-62.

Miller, J. E., Groccia, J.E., and Miller, M.S.. (2001). Student-Assisted Teaching. Bolton: Anker Publishing.

Wagner, M., & Gansemer-Topf, A. (2005). Learning by teaching others: A qualitative study exploring the benefits of peer teaching. Landscape Journal, 24(2), 198-208.


Ann Bigelow

Ann Bigelow, PhD, Professor, Psychology Department, Program Coordinator Service Learning, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, 2015 3M National Teaching Fellow.

David Creelman

David Creelman teaches English at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. He uses a variety of group activities and peer-teaching activities to help his students connect with Modern and Canadian texts. 2015 3M National Teaching Fellow.

Veselin Jungic

Teaching Professor, Simon Fraser University
Veselin Jungic teaches in the Department of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University. Veselin Jungic brings his subject alive for varied audiences – from young to old, from rural to professional, from the most academically challenged to the most advanced students. His No-Fear Mathematics... Read More →

Jessica Riddell

Full Professor and Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, Bishop's University
Dr. Jessica Riddell is a Full Professor of Early Modern Literature in the English Department at Bishop’s University (Quebec, Canada). She holds the Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University; in this capacity, she explores innovative... Read More →
avatar for Jin-Sun Yoon

Jin-Sun Yoon

Teaching Professor, University of Victoria
Jin-Sun Yoon is a Teaching Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. She received a 3M Teaching Fellowship in 2015. Known for her inclusive pedagogical approaches, social justice activism, and advocacy for educational equity, she champions diversity... Read More →

Additional Authors

Pamela Toulouse

Pamela Toulouse teaches at the School of Education at Laurentian University. Pamela is a highly respected scholar in the areas of Indigenous student success and interactive pedagogy. She has conducted more than 115 workshops and presentations, helping to guide the Ontario conversation... Read More →

Peter Ostafichuk

Peter Ostafichuk, teaches in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. He was instrumental in transforming elements of the Mechanical Engineering program, and introduced such new features as team-based and project-based learning and organized... Read More →

Sara Harris

Sara Harris teaches with Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, at the University of British Columbia. Her use of interactive teaching methods such as i-clickers, peer instruction, and concept sketches helps students learn all they can about climate change. 2015 3M National Teaching... Read More →

Steve Joordens

Steve Joordens teaches in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto. Steve Joordens is an educational activist. His technological innovations – peerScholar, mtuner, Digital Labcoat – help students feel like they are part of an intimate discussion, no matter where... Read More →

Étienne Côté

Étienne Côté, teaches at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island. Etienne Côté teaches with heart, both literally and figuratively. In such complex and intense situations, he wants the student to feel that it is OK not to know, but it is not... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 15:45 - 16:35 EDT
UCC 63