Essentials of Effective Teaching

with Robyn Burlew

In this course, Robyn Burlew (Upper School and Academic Head at the Veritas School in Richmond, VA) shares her accumulated wisdom and practical insights into what it means to be an effective classical educator. While Robyn understands the philosophical and historical elements of classical education, she excels at practical planning, assessment, and execution in real classrooms with real students. Those teachers yearning for practical, hands-on guidance in teaching methods, classroom cultivation, testing and assessment, and effective planning will find this course truly essential. In particular, we recommend this course to new or relatively new teachers. Ideally, we think it would be fruitful for small groups of educators to take this course together and discuss each presentation, week by week.

Robyn’s recorded presentations are clear, pithy, precise, and practical. You will also enjoy her conversations with Dr. Christopher Perrin, which follow each presentation. In these discussions, she often goes into further depth and detail, sharing examples and anecdotes that further illumine her advice and counsel.

The organizational scheme of this course is as follows.

  • Course Introduction
  • Lesson 1: Foundational Principles: What Is an Effective Teacher?
  • Discussion 1
  • Lesson 2: Aiming at Human Flourishing with Side Effects
  • Discussion 2
  • Lesson 3: Meaningful Planning: Aiming at the Right Targets
  • Discussion 3
  • Lesson 4: Meaningful Assignments
  • Discussion 4
  • Lesson 5: Meaningful Assessments
  • Discussion 5
  • Lesson 6: Meaningful and Effective Classrooms
  • Discussion 6

Robyn Burlew is the Upper School Principal and Dean of Academics at the Veritas School in Richmond, VA. Her career spans some 15 years in classical education. She first served as a 6th grade teacher, then as an upper school principal, and then as academic dean at Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, PA, before taking the Upper School and Academic Head position at the Veritas School. Robyn has three grown daughters who have all been classically educated. Robyn excels at bringing classical, pedagogical principles to bear practically and effectively in the classroom. She is a committed mentor of teachers who devotes an entire day each week to faithfully observing classes and coaching teachers. Robyn has a B.S. in biology from Houghton College, where she also minored in mathematics. She also holds an M.Ed from Covenant College in integrated curriculum and instruction.

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Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation in the course, and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload one short essay (of 600 – 650 words) demonstrating your understanding this course. When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

For this course, the the essay assignment is:

In 600 to 750 words, define what you regard to be the essential practices of effective teaching.

Please allow approximately 2 weeks for your essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 1 certification.

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