Professor promotes talking less to teach more

Jeremy RentzATLANTA — A Trine University faculty member recently led a professional development session highlighting the learning process at a national conference for higher education faculty.

Jeremy Rentz, Ph.D., Schantz Distinguished Professor in the Reiners Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, led the interactive presentation “Talk Less, Teach More” at the 2022 Teaching Professor Conference, held June 3-5 in Atlanta. The session was part of the conference’s Instructional Vitality: Ways to Keep Teaching Fresh and Invigorated track.

Throughout the session, Rentz used learning to ride a bike as a concrete example to showcase the process of learning. To learn to ride a bike, readings and lectures won’t help much, he said; the learner has to hop on and give it a go.

Learning at the college level is no different, and Rentz used three key discussion questions to help move attendees toward adopting Talk Less, Teach More strategies for their classes: 1) Why should the students be doing the work in class? 2) When students are doing work, what can we do to facilitate learning? 3) What strategies do you already use to get students to do the work?

“I was very fortunate to have a full and lively room,” Rentz said. “More than 100 people packed the room, and they generated insightful responses for the three key questions.”

Rentz is the environmental engineering professor at Trine and just completed a five-year stint as the university’s director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.

The Teaching Professor Conference is held annually by Magna Publications and brings educators from all disciplines of higher education together to discuss and advance teaching and learning. More than 700 teachers gathered for the event this year.

Last Updated: 06/21/2022