We were honored to feature Dr. Hrach as our keynote workshop leader for our annual Teaching & Learning Symposium here at the University of Houston-Downtown. Her session was engaging, entertaining, and informative. The ideas she presented have really provoked thought among our faculty, and perhaps more importantly, have gotten people moving! Her presentation was the perfect catalyst for connecting mind and body and all its implications for any modality of instruction.
Georges Detiveaux Associate Director, UHD Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence
[The whiteboard in his office] actually allows the students to physically do the things that mathematicians are doing when they’re doing math.
Host and Educational Developer Derek Bruff
There’s almost another dead idea at play here, which is the idea that maybe classrooms are just, kind of, empty boxes. And of course, the way that they’re designed often in higher ed reinforced this idea. Drab walls, white walls, standardized furniture.
Assistant Director of Columbia University CTL, Caitlin DeClercq
Slowing down is often the message that my body makes me notice.
Leah Marion Roberts, Senior Graduate Teaching Fellow at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
I loved this conversation, and I really enjoyed the book because it takes the concept of active learning to the next level.
Go out and take a walk, move your body, smell some flowers, put your feet in a creek or some other form of bodily or sensory stimulation while you listen to this episode.
Think UDL podcast host Lillian Nave
When I’m teaching in a large class, I often use a step counter. And I often would get in a mile, or a mile and a half of walking during an hour and 20 minute class period. But then I was thinking, I was doing that, but those students were stuck in those seats.
3. Minding Bodies: How Physical Space, Sensation, and Movement Affect Learning (2021)
If you’re heading back to campus this fall, don’t be quick to return to your traditional, pre-COVID ways. In Minding Bodies, Susan Hrach, Director of the Faculty Center and Professor of English at Columbus State University, advocates for physical, sensory-rich learning experiences—ones that engage all five senses. One of Hrach’s ideas? A simple “walk and think” exercise where students take a 20-minute walk to reflect on an assigned prompt before returning to an in-person lecture or Zoom class to complete a journal entry. Hrach draws from cognitive psychology theory to offer low-cost and inclusive strategies to maximize the time spent with students during class time.
Hrach adds, [class time] shouldn’t always be used in the same way. Neuroscience shows that “brains are stimulated by variety.” Ideally, students know that, when they come to class, “any number of things could happen. There’s just no telling what fun surprise might be in store.”