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Instructional Skills with Kate Bligh


Instructional Skills

Below is a selection of some of the workshops Kate has delivered on this topic. In practice, training sessions are usually adapted or customized according to the specific needs of every client.  

The first step is always a conversation: please contact Kate for a friendly and confidential discussion of your needs.


These sessions are adapted according to the experience of the participants: they can be offered to people who have never taught before, to groups of mixed experience, or to seasoned teachers and trainers.


Structuring a Lesson 

The choice of learning objectives, format, content, and teaching strategies for ensuring the retention of material, along with some basic pedagogic theory, are covered in this day-long, practical workshop.

Participants: 5                          Time: 6 hours  


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Basic Learning Theory for Teachers and Non-teachers

Developing levels of knowledge; different learning styles; learning stages; and the learning needs of the current generation of students/those entering the workforce are outlined, briefly, during this session.

Participants: 20                                    Time: 3 hours 


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Interacting with Students

Approaches to listening to questions; asking them; formulating effective answers; checking for understanding – or what is really being asked – are all dealt with, along with the participants’ own questions, of course, in this interactive session.

Participants: 20                                    Time: 2-3 hours


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Seminar: Current Teaching Challenges

This lively and interactive session addresses the questions and challenges posed by its participants.  It can function as a sharing, or even a ‘venting’ of current difficulties: however the articulation of wisdom, experience and solutions during the session always provides an enriching, stimulating and constructive hour.

 Participants: 20-40                  Time: 1 hour


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Providing Timely & Effective Feedback 

This session provides suggestions, readings, and the opportunity to share experience and difficulties regarding feedback with peers.  The workshop also includes discussion of the psychological impact of criticism, and guidance as to when and how to use praise and honesty to further enable students in their development of understanding, skills, and self-awareness.  It concludes with an interactive group investigation of specific points raised by the participants in a pre-questionnaire.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • Choosing – or creating – the time when feedback will be most effective.
  • The psychological impact of negative and positive criticism
  • Creating the right context
  • Speaking constructively
  • Individual feedback
  • Group feedback
  • Written feedback

Participants: 8 -14                   Time: 3 hours


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Dealing with Difficult Emotions in the Classroom 

Have you ever found yourself feeling really upset by, or angry with, a student?  When students express their own outrage or sadness at their grades or your teaching, have you ever felt like shrugging your shoulders at them, or worse?  After the event, did you feel bad, or wish that you had handled the situation better?

Kate Bligh has taught and coached student actors at Concordia University and elsewhere for many years, and thus she deals with strong emotions in students on a regular basis.  In this session we will address some of the factors that can cause difficult feelings to arise in the classroom, and explore some constructive ways of processing and responding to these. The scenarios and role-play situations explored in this workshop are aimed at supporting a frank and supportive exchange on the subject between all present. 

Participants: 20                                    Time: 3 hours


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Creating an Effective Grading Policy

This workshop includes tips on setting and enforcing standards. It covers the provision of positive expectations and rules that can enhance the students' learning experience and a guided, step-by-step approach to creating a detailed grading policy that saves time, and enabling you to make evaluations that are fair, clear, and detailed.

Participants: 15                                    Time: 3 hours


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Dealing With Problematic Behaviour in Large Classes

Although it is generally agreed that prevention is better than cure, this workshop focuses on 'curing', or responding to, some inappropriate behaviours of students in the classroom, using role-playing. It is an entertaining experience, as the session features actors, who help to demonstrate some appropriate ways of responding to students who are acting out. These behaviours can include arriving late or leaving early, inappropriate cellphone or laptop use, side conversations, and challenges to the teacher or sniping remarks. Various scenarios are acted out, and professors in the audience are invited to come forward and deal with these problematic behaviours themselves. Their approaches to doing so are discussed with the participants and, in some cases, adjusted.  This is intended as an enjoyable and collegial approach to dealing with difficult teaching situations.

Participants: 20                                    Time: 3 hours


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Other past workshop topics include:

Sharing expectations: establishing standards of behaviour in the classroom and around academic work with groups of culturally diverse students

Interactive teaching: approaches, exercises and techniques for enabling the students to be active learners in the classroom and beyond; aimed at freeing professors from using the lecture as their number one teaching strategy.

Social status behaviour: body language and 'soft skills' around leadership, assertiveness and team membership.

Theatre games for non-actors: role-play and group bonding activities aimed and reducing inhibitions and increasing access to creativity and spontaneity.

Any of these sessions, or one focusing on a topic of your choice, can be custom-designed for particular groups, with their specific needs in mind.


Many other training and information sessions are available upon request: just ask!