Teaching Café creates network to boost success

By Valeria Garcia, Advocate Staff

The Teaching Café, a faculty-based event, was held on Wednesday, April 26 in the Fireside Hall, Library Learning and Resource Center, and other classrooms.

Food and beverages, provided by Contra Costa College culinary arts department students, were free to anyone who attended the on-campus event.

Faculty members spoke about different ways to improve student success by sharing in-classroom techniques.

The audience was comprised of mainly faculty members, and the few students who attended were all Associated Student Union members.

Despite the difference in teacher to student ratio, the Teaching Café was a successful and important event, speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler said.

Diestler, the coordinator of the event, said teachers coming together and sharing their ideas with students was the main goal of the event.

“(The Teaching Café) helps (professors) find new teaching techniques, and share tips such as how to implement teaching games into the classroom,” Diestler said.

During a discussion, faculty speakers emphasized the importance of applying abstract concepts taught in a classroom to real and relevant situations.

Even though there was one speaker listed per each segment on the itinerary, discussions played out like open forums where a topic question would spur lengthy conversations between educators.

Professors were able to share their input and started conversations with those present.

History, anthropology and geography Chairperson Manu Ampim said having high expectations for students and encouraging active learning will better prepare them for high-level college courses.

Ampim also said teachers should maintain the classroom professional, and “keep all baggage at the door to create an environment for learning.”

Many of the other teachers in the audience, and on the panel agreed with him.

Academic Skill Development faculty member Maricela Ramirez used her segment to discuss the importance of writing clear and understandable essay prompts.

Ramirez said it was her first time attending the Teaching Café.

She said the goal of her presentation was to teach teachers how to help students.

She explained to the audience that it easier for students to succeed in a classroom if they understand the prompt.

She said, “If we can make things clear for students then we help ourselves.”

Ramirez said the Teaching Café is important because “it is a great way for the entire CCC family to get together to enjoy one another and learn from each other.”

Another segment’s discussion was centered in teachers subconsciously discriminating against students.

This is the meeting most students attended. A total of three of them were there.

ASU student ambassador Minerva Arbalo said she stopped by the Teaching Café just to see what it was like.

Arbalo said, “I learned about and how to change, and prevent them.”