Teaching Strategy – Full Video
Teaching Strategy – Full Video

♪ [music playing–
no dialogue] ♪♪. (Dr. Walvoord Walvoord).
What I hope to do in this workshop is
before 11:30, that each of you will have
explored some question that you have about your class. And it can be, I am
doing such and such a technique, is it working? Or it might be, how can I, like
how can I reduce the amount of time I am spending on my
grading in this course, or on this course altogether. Or how can I deal
with difficult students? Or how can I achieve
some other goal that I have? Or why are my students,
why aren’t my students not…fill in the blank. And what can I do about it? Or this aspect of my course is
troubling me, it doesn’t feel quite right, what is going on
and how can I make it more comfortable for everybody? So those are the kinds
of questions that I invite you to ask today. And we won’t be able to answer
the questions so much as construct a way to answer them
by looking at your classroom, now and in the future. You’re in the, you’re
approaching the what I call the never again
part of the semester. I’m never going to
do it this way again. Never again am I going to
ask for this many papers. Never again am I going to handle
the class this way, because we’re starting to feel
increasingly overwhelmed and frustrated and beaten down or
maybe it’s one of those great classes that gelled and
we’re just in heaven as it roars to its wonderful
conclusion and we’re saying, never again am I going to teach
in any other way but this. But in the never again
moment of the semester, that’s a good time, while
it’s fresh, to ask, okay, how can I make this better? How can I make it easier on
myself, more effective for my students, and enhancing of
learning all the way through?” So that’s what we’re going to do
between now and 11:30, we’re going to take a
break in the middle. And I also invite any of you to
go and refill your bagels or your drinks as you
wish this morning. So to start out, what I would
like to do is go around the circle and ask each person to
introduce him or herself. And tell your name and where
you’re from, and then one idea or question that you might have
that you would like to see addressed in this workshop. It can be any of the kinds of
questions that I’ve mentioned and you can take a
couple of sentences to explain if you want to. Because this is very much a
problem solving, or figuring out how to figure out how to solve
the problem kind of a workshop. Will you start? I am Monica Zeigler, I am the
assistant director for academic advising in the Academic
Advising Center. Presently I’m teaching the
university foundations class, but in the past I have taught on
organizational behavior and something I would like to do
down the road, and the way I usually taught that class is my
objective is that I wanted students to apply those things
to their real life, or to be able to apply them to their real
life work situation. So I hardly ever gave
multiple choice, everything was always
a written project. Which we would take the concepts
that we started off with in mid-term, and then they would
finish it off then in finals. So we would start some project
and then we would add to it, or do a group
presentation sometimes. And then they give back these
answers and I go, did we not cover this, did we not talk
about it, and so something is wrong for some of the students
as to if we’re covering it, we want you to understand the
concept and I’m trying to explain that concept and
give them examples. And then when they come back,
they come back and miss it, so maybe I’m just not
using the right words or particular enough. (Dr. Walvoord).
So your question is sort of a version of why
aren’t they… (Monica).
Yeah, and maybe i’m asking the
wrong question… (Dr. Walvoord).
Why aren’t they getting this thing that I
think I’m teaching so clearly? I’m Mary Dwiggins from the
English department, and my biggest problem this semester is
that I’mm teaching 1001, the english freshmen writing course,
and they flunked it last semester so they’re in it again,
and I am struggling keeping them engaged and I need
something that makes there care about everything. They really could care
less at being there at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. So just how do I make them want
to learn, and you know, how much do I dumb down the class to hope
that they do get the information and do pass, otherwise they will
relatively [unclear dialogue]. (Dr. Walvoord).
That is certainly a last resort. And certainly doesn’t apply to
all of them, so it’s a version of the how can I right? How can I get them more engaged? Good, next please? Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m a
graduate assistant in the Student Success
Center so I teach strategies for
academic success. So I have students who have been
placed on academic warning, they’re in essence forced to
take this class, so. I would like to know why
they aren’t responding to group discussions,
questions I’m asking, or how do I improve the discussion. (Dr. Walvoord).
Good, thank you. My name is Danielle Steibel and
I too work in the student success center and teach
strategies for academic success. And my question is, how can I
know that they are applying what I am teaching? If I teach them how to set goals
and how to work on motivation, but how do I know that they’re
actually doing it? Like we have homework
assignments where they tell us how they apply it, but you can
make anything up in a homework assignment, how do I really know
you’re doing it? (Dr. Walvoord).
Good, thank you. Jerry Cloward, I’m in the School
of Technology, I teach production, manufacturing,
material technology, and also I teach a leadership class of grad
students and about two-thirds of the class usually are
foreign students. For class participation it’s
really difficult to get them to participate, I know there may be
a little bit of a language barrier, and also there’s the
textbook is definitely written to students in the United
States, so it’s difficult to get the material that they can
relate to and I try to relate it to them because it is a
leadership class, so you try to bring in international leaders
ideas, and thoughts. But there’s still that concept
of leadership that doesn’t appear like they’re getting. You know me by now, I am
Rigoberto Chinchilla, and you know that I will bother
you with questions. Although, I promise to
be more, I promise to be more quiet today
in this one. (female speaker 1).
You’re okay. (Jerry).
Too much for [unclear audio]. (female speaker 1).
You’re fine. My name is Antoine Thomas, I
actually work for the CATS department, academic
technology on campus. Since I work with a lot of
faculty to help implement technology into their classes, I
just like to show up and learn more and find out some of the
problems and issues are. (Dr. Walvoord).
I thought you were going to say, “Why don’t
these faculty…learn what I’m trying to teach them?” [audience laughter]. I’m Krishna Thomas, I work in
faculty development, and I’m just interested in seeing
professors and instructors talk about what works and what
doesn’t work in their classrooms. So it’s more of an
observation for me. Hi, I’m Kiran Padmaraju,
and I teach in the College of Education. I’ve tried out some things and
they have worked, I want to get more ideas about what are
other things that are working in others’ classes. I am James Ochwa-Echel, of
African-American studies and secondary ed and foundations. I have not taught any class
here, I am primarily doing mostly research and
[unclear audio]. So I can’t really talk
about classrooms here, because I have no
experience here. Robert Peterson of the Art
Department, and last semester you said as you say, I had one
of those ‘never again’ moments, radically changed
every class I taught. Completely changed, and now it’s
working, but I don’t know which, it’s one part that’s making it
work, or the whole, or you know? I think this whole idea
of really looking, trying to get outside… So I got this new system of
teaching that I’m really enjoying, but I’m trying to
see if I can really narrow in really what about
it is making it work. (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s good. I’m Glen Hild, I’m chair
of the Art Department. I’m here to hear all the
strategies because lots of times, faculty come to me, and,
how can I improve my teaching? (Dr. Walvoord).
Good. Andrew Robinson, I’m
with the department of Communications Studies. I teach communications courses,
and also I teach a graduate course for teachers in the
certification program wanting to learn how to teach
online and so I teach them
instructional design. My question is that I try to
apply a constructivist approach to my classes, which can
be very time consuming. And so I’m looking for ways that
I can be maybe more parsimonious and save some time, get some
feedback, but yet not to be overwhelmed with so many hours. It will be much simpler to give
tests and things, but they don’t learn, each student don’t learn
nearly as well as they would in a constructivist environment. And I’m applying that, but I
find it sometimes exhausting. (Dr. Walvoord).
Good, so there’s an example of a how can
I kind of question. How can I reduce my own time
without taking away from what the students are learning? (Andrew).
Yeah, they’re very motivated and they’re
excited about the subject matter, the
course, very involved, highly motivated, but it
leaves me exhausted, physically exhausted
as a result. (Dr. Walvoord).
You’re going to die. I’m Mildred Pearson, Director of
Faculty Development, and I am like Glen, I am always looking
for strategies that can readily serve others as well as myself,
because I still teach one course per semester. Well one course now for a year,
thank God I finally got there. I had a course, MLA4760, a year
ago, that really worked well, and I’m doing some reflective
thinking on what did I do right? I’m really questioning that, we
got a publication from that class, the class was just an
unusual group, they’re still on a high, they still send emails,
but I’m still teaching that course and I’d like to do some
of the same things. So I’m doing some reflective
thinking on what did I do right? What strategies did I employ,
because I did revise that particular course and so I’m
doing some reflective thinking about that course. I’m Ann Fritz, I’m in the
Department of Biological Sciences, and in my courses I
try to employ diverse techniques, teaching techniques,
to get away from kind of the factual overload of
science courses. And so I’m interested in how I
could test, appropriately test what I am doing in the classroom
with these different techniques, to understand if they’re
really serving the purposes that I think they are. And what I’d like to head toward
is ways to do this such that I could actually publish what I’m
doing in the science classroom to contribute to the literature
in the scholarship of teaching. (Mildred).
And learning. (Ann).
That’s where I would like to end up. (Dr. Walvoord).
Perfect. I’m Bev Cruse from media
services, and I teach incoming freshman foundations class, and
then I’ve also taught a photography class on technology. And I think one of the issues
that I deal with is the variety of skill levels that the student
brings to the classroom. We have some that are, because
of their background, they have lots of background knowledge and
easy to teach, and then you have to bring those others up to
speed, and then when you’re testing, how do you develop a
test that challenges the student that has lots of knowledge and
still helps the other students? I’m Christy , I’m
a graduate assistant in English, and what I want to
know is why my student-led discussions
are falling. [audience laughter]. (female speaker).
[no audio]. I’m Barry Hudek, an English
instructor, composition I and II, my question is how do I get
students to respond to and care about various literatures of the
past? (female speaker).
History. (Dr. Walvoord).
“How do I?” I’m Nanci Newstrom, I teach in
the school of business, management. My challenge, that I’ve been
trying to work on, I’m looking for that ultimate do it
right kind of thing is with my large auditorium class. I teach a 90 to 180 class, and I
still do class discussion. I’m amazed at students who
refuse to have any identity, that never say anything, and
even when I can put the new photo rosters are wonderful, I
can put names and faces together, they’re still mute. I tried re-weighting the course
so that it was 50% assignment and 50% test, it about killed me
off in terms of the grading. And so, I’m looking for that
magic mix that works, particularly with a large
classroom. I’d like to get away from
lecture and be able to do the activities and then have the
debriefing be the lecture. My kids aren’t comfortable
getting away from the book. Every time I try that, my
evaluations slide. (Dr. Walvoord).
Alright, so we got lots of good questions here. Do you see what we’re doing? (female speaker).
Yes, everybody’s gone, I’m sorry I’m late. (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s alright. (female speaker).
My name is Jennifer Hess and I work in
the Kinesiology and Sports Studies department. I came yesterday so a lot of my
questions I had for all of these sessions I think were answered. Because this one is how to
determine if a teaching strategy is working well? And I learned yesterday
that I’m doing it wrong, so. [audience laughter]. I need to have the first
exposure be during the students’ own time instead of trying to do
it all in lecture every day. (Dr. Walvoord).
So how to start making the shift. And is the shift going
to work for you? All these things are context
dependent, aren’t they? A strategy may work
for one person better than for another person. Alright…this workshop will be
a combination of offering suggestions to one another about
some of our problems, but its focus is, how do I construct a
plan for answering my own question? By gathering information from my
classroom and using it in appropriate ways. So I want to suggest that
the first thing we do is take about three or four
minutes and actually write down your question. If it’s different from the one
you articulated in public here, that’s okay, but actually write
down your question. That’s the start, you’re in a
sense planning research here. If you want to work together
or share it with someone else, that would be okay. I’m going to give you just three
or four minutes, so you’ll have a rough version of it,
of your question. Okay presuming now you have some
rough version any way of your question, the next step is to
start planning how you are going to go about
answering your question. How you are going to go about
answering your question. And I would suggest that no
matter what your question is, the first thing that it’s
important to do is to state your goals for learning in the course
that you’re thinking about. That may not have anything
immediately to do with your question per say, but it
provides an anchor and it may suggest to you some ways in
which, some answers to your questions that you may
not have thought of yet. Because so much depends upon how
you and your students establish the goals for learning
in the classroom. And all kinds of
insights can come when you actually articulate those. So the next task, I’m going to
ascribe for us is to say, and I’m going to give you about
again three or four minutes just to start with
some jottings here. And many of you may have it
already in your syllabus, so it’s a matter of reaffirming
what you’ve got. But here’s the question. When my students finish this
course, I want them to be able to fill in the blank. When my students finish
this course, I want them to be able to… And put your highest things, and
put the things that you don’t have time to put everything,
put the things that seem most close to
your question. So if you have a question about
students, why don’t students get more involved in discussion, or
how can I get them more involved in discussion, You might want to
think, okay what are the goals of the course that relate to
what I’m trying to teach them through a discussion. Or if your question is, why are
my students missing this concept on the test? Clarify for yourself, what are
the primary concepts or theoretical approaches that you
want them to be able to understand and apply. So just three or four minutes no
to write, when my students finish this course, I want
them to be able to… Okay, presuming
now you have some rough version anyway
of what you want your students to be able to do. The handout that I have I’m
going to skip around and I’m going to use parts of it,
because I brought it as a resource, but the workshop is
focused on helping each of you construct a plan for answering
your own question. So I want to suggest one primary
technique that would be important to use before the
course ends. And that is asking
your students. It’s one of the most underused
strategies of research into classrooms I think,
and so I want to start with that technique. And I think virtually all of you
will find it a useful technique in your classrooms, so let’s
start with that. You have your question written
down, you have your goals for student learning written down,
now what do you need to know from your students in order to
answer your question? What do you need to know
from your students in order to answer your question? And I want to show you some
instruments that others have used to answer
various questions. You are free to adapt or simply
copy anything from this handout or change it to your own use, it
may or may not be exactly right-on for you, but I think it
will suggest some things. So, if you’ll turn to page 13. Page 13. This is a class handout that I
have used in my class on a daily basis, in my literature classes. Every day that there is class
discussion, which is most days, I ask my students
to report at the end of the class session on this sheet. And, their responses count in
the grade, except for their responses to the very last
questions, which are just for my own information. So I’ll give you a moment to
read this sheet, those of you who were here yesterday, I also
showed it in one of the workshops yesterday. So you recognize it. [no dialogue]. Okay, what do you think? Reactions, questions, ways you
might use this, ways you think it might be adapted,
disadvantages to doing this kind of thing? (female speaker).
How do you assign credit for the answers? Like, how does that work? (Dr. Walvoord).
The way I do it is the student gets credit
if they can check off all of the boxes,
1 through 10. And, yeah, 1 through 10, because
11, 12, 13, that’s just for my own information. If a student can check off every
box 1 through 10, they get credit for preparation and
participation in that class. And in order to get a certain
grade for that portion of the course, or portion of the grade,
they have to have a certain percentage of days in
which they got credit for participation in the class. Now, there are some drawbacks to
that system, it’s a hard nose system because it says,
you got to, I mean, I don’t count the boxes, right. I don’t give partial credit. If you weren’t prepared, but you
made a contribution anyway, I don’t care. I want you to be fully there, I
want all these ten things. I think it is reasonable to ask
these ten things of every, or almost every, class. And so in order to get, in order
to be eligible for an A in my class, you have to check off all
these boxes 90% of the time. Not 90% of the boxes, 90% of the
discussion classes. Let’s say there were 30 classes
in the 45 classes of the semester, let’s say there were
30 that I led by discussion. What’s 90% of 30? (Rigoberto).
27. (Dr. Walvoord).
Whatever it is. So you have to have that many
days in which you got credit in order to be eligible for
an A in the course. (female speaker).
So it doesn’t matter if they got an A
on their exams? (Dr. Walvoord).
The way I grade is that in order to get an
A in the course, you have to do two things. That are separate. You have to get an A average on
your formal written work, your tests and your essays. And you have to have at least
90% of the days’ credit for class participation and
preparation. If you don’t do those two
things, you don’t get an A. Now we drop down, what
do you need for a B? You need at least a B, that is a
B or an A in your written formal work, and at least 80% credit
for class participation. And if you have both those
things you get a B. And we drop down to C. Do you understand how it works? Okay, so if a person gets an A
on their written work, their formal written work, but only
70%, which would be C level, only 70% credit for class
participation, they get a C. Because that’s the first level
at which they have met or exceeded both of the criteria. Now that is a grading system
that is very hard nosed around classroom preparation
and participation. It really lays it on the line to
students, you cannot get a grade in here, you can’t survive in
this course actually, unless you are present and
participating and saying something at least once. (female speaker).
With that kind of incentive, how do you keep them from just checking all the boxes,
regardless of what their level of
participation is? (Dr. Walvoord).
In any class under 50, I know. I sit down, and I collect these
at the end of the class session, and as soon as I have time after
that, I sit down and I just flip through them, and I make a check
in my record book. It doesn’t take very long at
all to just see, you know, did you check them all. And what students actually
do, this is in the syllabus, so they keep it in
their notebook. They don’t use up a whole sheet
of paper each time, they share, they tear off a third or a half
of a sheet of paper, put their name on it, put 1, question
number 1, check. Or they’ll put 1
through 10, check. In other words, they’re
letting me know they checked all of them. Or they’ll put 1 check, 2 check,
3 not, 4 check, and so on. And so I just go through in my
record book really quickly after class and I can remember them,
if somebody claims they participated and
they didn’t, I’ll know. And I can make them think I
know, because the class, a discussion class with under 50
people, is very intensive. And so you know their names, and
you know, you make them feel like you’re present to
them in that class. Does that seem
reasonable to you? (female speaker).
Pretty challenging. (Dr. Walvoord).
On what? (female speaker).
To say, you know you said I can get my A but
I checked it and I did everything, and you’re
challenging that they actually did do everything on that sheet. (Dr. Walvoord).
Right, I wouldn’t just. If they said they participated
and I remembered that they didn’t participate,
I would talk to them. Or else I would
take their word for it. I would say, “Well, maybe they
did and I didn’t remember.” Now let’s talk about students
from other cultures. A couple of you mentioned that,
and I know that others of you might have that issue. They have different notions of
the relationship between the student and the teacher coming
out of their own cultures and educational systems in which
they were raised and trained. They sometimes don’t have clear
notions of what we expect. And so a sheet like this lays
out the cultural expectation of the American classroom,
for how you are to act, and how you are to participate. That’s a help in itself. And the other thing you can do,
if you have students who are, who find it difficult, whether
they’re native speakers or not, who find it difficult to
participate in class. One of the things you can do is
to say at some point in the class, turn to your neighbor,
share one counter-argument to the argument that we’ve been
putting forth, or share one way in which you could apply this
concept to such and such. So by turning to
their neighbor, they get credit for having spoken
once in class, it counts. Some teachers that I know also
allow it to count if the student, you take the last
couple minutes of class, and you say, anyone who has not spoken
in this class, write down on a sheet of paper what you would
have said if you had spoken. Put your name on it,
hand it in, it will count.” That’s a very flexible
policy because it allows students to
go to writing. It’s a good system also for any
students who have difficulties contributing to class because of
their difficulties in forming language for whatever reasons,
or you know whatever it is. You can offer them the option of
a written contribution. Let’s hear some more about
something like this. (James).
Actually just wanting to ask, how will this accomodate
learning styles? (Dr. Walvoord).
How does it accomodate learning styles? (James).
Right, you talk about other cultures and
in some cultures, some people are a little
uncomfortable speaking out. There are various ways
that they express. You said that this is
a hard-nosed system, so it’s very… (Dr. Walvoord).
Yes. (James).
It’s kind of my way or the highway kind of stuff. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yep. Could someone maybe pull that
door closed or something? Your torn, aren’t you? Between accommodating to
students from other cultures in your classroom, and on the other
hand, saying, this is an American classroom, a lot of
these students are preparing themselves to be citizens and do
business in a global economy that includes the United States
and many of them may stay here.” And that means they need to
learn how to function amongst the assumptions that
U.S. classrooms make about how people and
businesses make, and agencies make, about how people
participate in discussion. So, what I’m doing here, this
would go, this my way or the highway philosophy goes. They have to learn how to
participate in discussions along with their U.S. born peers. So that they, they’re
learning a culture. Now if you open it up a little
bit, you say, alright I’m going to provide some opportunities
for them to write, rather than speak. Then you are making more
accommodation to either their culture or their learning style,
because some U.S. born students off course also
will appreciate being able to write rather than speak. I read somewhere that
something like 87% of the, now this is U.S.
population, expresses a strong fear of
speaking out in public. So it is a common thing. (Jerry).
I’ve had students that have said, they get sick. Literally, yeah, they have to
leave the room to go to the facilities because they
have to say something. So the writing
gives that option. (Dr. Walvoord).
Writing gives that option, also gives that
option is the least scary little step that you can
help them to take. Because it will be a disability
to them if they can’t speak in public, if they get that
scared, if they can get over that, they should. Because it will help them, so,
can they speak to their peer, can they turn to their
neighbor and speak? And then can you ask the group
to say, okay, this pair, what did you say? Let them be doubly, dually
responsible for it. Or say interview each other and
then one of the people speaks what both of them thought. So, you know, any way that you
can possibly provide little easy steps for them to work their way
up will be easier for them. (Jerry).
So that’s three accomodations? (Dr. Walvoord).
That is three accommodations, yeah. Now do you think that using a
sheet like this will enhance students’ real engagement and
motivation, or will they just be doing it to comply, or how
do we figure that out? (female speaker).
I think a portion of them it will help, you
will never get 100%. (female speaker 2).
You might get 100% of students who
drop your class. [audience laughter]. (Dr. Walvoord).
Would that be bad? (female speaker).
Yes, it depends on how you’re going
to be evaluated. If you’re going to be evaluated
by everyone dropping your class in the semester,
then that’s not good. If the chair understands what
you’re trying to do to engage students and help them to
learn and be be successful. (female speaker).
Well, I think also if the students
understand what their intentions are, because I plan
to go into my class on monday, because I had four of
my students come in just for a brief
time yesterday. But I plan on monday to share
with them what I’ve learned and how if they have me in the
future, that there is going to be some changes, but it is for
their own good, so. (Dr. Walvoord).
Antoine? (Antoine).
I think that a sheet like this, it gives everybody the same
foundation to start from. I think a lot of times when
students come into a classroom, you say participation
counts, but they don’t understand what that means. And so now, you’re giving a
foundation, that when I say participation, whether you check
this off or not, everyone knows at the beginning of the
classroom, this is what I mean when I say participation. And I think for a lot of things
that students get engaged in discussions or whatever you have
them do, they just don’t understand because they don’t
have to do it before, they don’t have the reference point. (male speaker).
I have to say, I have never given a
participation grade, because it’s always too much of
a popularity contest. And I’ve always felt like it’s
not a clear measure. I’m here, I’m evaluating the
quality of someone’s speech? And I’m really uncomfortable
with that, I’m really uncomfortable with that. I’d prefer that in a writing
assignment, and I almost always use, almost exclusively use
writing assignments. Because I feel, they can tell me
directly, or make a clear argument in this manner. This participation thing is
something that really has, you can across the board, my feeling
is that you can’t across the board establish those firm
boundaries. (male speaker).
I always use participation points in my classroom,
and usually I tie it to at least 10% of the
grade, over all grade to participation, and the reason
for that is, that they’ll show up to class for one thing,
and secondly is so that they’ll show up on time. It’s heavily tied
towards attendance and showing up on time. And as a result of that, what I
have found is that I have, my student evaluations are higher,
because what happened previously when I did not have
participation, I had so many students who said
this instructor did not explain things well. And all of these
things, well, why? Because they weren’t there. That’s why they didn’t
understand. But now that I require them to
be there, my student evaluations after that, I have noticed
that for several years now, went up dramatically. (Nanci).
I do a participation page, even in my
large sections. And what I’ve learned is,
because I try to make some in-class discussion, and
you’ve got folks who refuse to participate. Is that they would just sit
there, and they’d nod their head, and they’d look at
me, and I’d look at them, and nothing would be said. And so the participation page is
part of my lecture material, will be a question,
what do you think? Give examples, whatever. And then I have a stopwatch, and
I give them two minutes, and they write it down. Then we have open discussion,
and someone gets stuck and I say, what did you write? And those people that aren’t,
that is being referred to, and they turn it in when they leave. And that’s their
participation point. I don’t worry about their
comfort zone, because if anything, there’s not enough
time for everyone to present, even if they wanted to. But one, I’ve forced them to
think about it and write something down, versus just,
it’s out of their head, they’re not held accountable. And two, even if they don’t get
to share it , they’ve thought about it, and that’s
what I want, I want them to think about it. (Kiran).
My participation grade is like in-class assignments,
time-limited assignments, small group activities,
they have write-ups on things, or they have
group chats on ideas. And they write a summary on
that, they get the participation points about two or
three points worth. And if they are not there
in class, they cannot make up those assignments. So that encourages them to
attend the classes, because almost every class there is,
they add up, even those little points add up towards the
end of the semester. (Bev).
Yesterday you mentioned pair-share, you would
pose a question and they would talk to their partner
or neighbor, and I really like that idea, because I
think students sometimes are afraid to say something out loud
because they’ll seem foolish. But if I have shared it with
Anne, and we had some interaction with it, then
I’m more comfortable with sharing it in class. So I see that as a really
freeing exercise that would maybe get them started on that. Because I think the first person
who steps out is suddenly, others are not going to let them
outdo them, so you suddenly get that conversation
and dialogue going. It’s kind of hard to shut it
off, but that’s a good thing. But I think that initial thing,
for incoming freshmen, that’s some of the comments that they
make in that foundations class, is they’re just afraid that
they’ll look stupid. And they don’t want to speak. (Dr. Walvoord).
They don’t want to look stupid, and they also
don’t want to look too smart. There’s a strong peer thing
going on there sometimes, and it’s hard for them to thread
their way through that, because the social acceptance
is so important to them. (female speaker).
They’re also untrained really. They come to us not really
trained to be critical thinkers yet, and that’s another issue
that we’re trying to steer them toward that their entire
education. and that’s a tough
transition to make. And to actually have a different
opinion than, so it’s quick. (Dr. Walvoord).
Has anyone tried asking students to establish
goals for themselves for class participation? You can do that at the beginning
of the class, you can ask a student, alright, write down for
yourself, what is your goal for class participation? And they can say, okay I’m not
much of a class participator, I don’t usually open my mouth in
class, but in this class I would like to say one
thing once a week. Or, by the end of the semester I
would like to have made one substantial contribution
to class, in front of the whole class. Or I would like to
not speak too much. That’s for your dominators. You can work with them, and talk
with them, and give them some examples, but if each student
has his or her own goal in regard to class participation,
then you can ask them every once in a while to check, alright, am
I achieving my goal, if I was going to speak once during the
semester, have I done it yet? Or, if I was going to not
dominate, have I not dominated? You can either share
those or you can let the students keep them private. Alright, so, these are some ways
to get class discussion going. It partly suggests some
hypotheses to those of you who asked, how can I get student
discussion going, how can I handle student discussion in a
big class,how can I get my students more engaged, what can
I do about students whose cultures make it more difficult
for them to engage in classroom conversation of the type that we
practice in this culture? These are some suggestions, but
what I want to look very carefully at is
what’s on page 14. The last three questions. At the top of page 14, these are
the last three questions on that form we were looking at before,
so it’s just a continuation, but it doesn’t count for
their grading of it. And you’ll notice that it asks,
what could the professor have done, and what could you the
student have done? So it tries to reinforce the
idea that a successful class discussion is a two-way street. Do any of you ask on a daily or
at least a frequent basis, for student input about
class discussion? And, if so, how do you do that? (Kiran).
I don’t do it like weekly or so, but three
times in the semester I have them write a one-minute
paper about how things are going in the classroom, what are some
things they think are going well, what are some things they
think are not going well, and give a solution to that. And give about couple of minutes
to write, and then the next day after that, I have gone
through them and we discuss about that in class. (Dr. Walvoord).
How does that work for you? (Kiran).
It’s worked really well, they have given
really constructive feedback about some of the
activities that we do in class that don’t, they don’t
seem to understand the purpose of those activities. So I have been able to modify
how I explain the assignment to them, so that they understand
why I want them to do that. And throughout my years of
teaching, I have realized that the why question is
huge for students. If they know why they
are doing something, they will really put
their efforts into it. (Dr. Walvoord).
Does anyone else use this kind of feedback on,
about discussion, on a pretty frequent basis? (female speaker).
In one of that I teach this semester
. This one wounds me. So we had a debate,
because that would work. We divided the class up into the
debate and nobody was speaking. They were supposed to research,
and it was the political debate, you know, republicans
and democrats. They all had assignments, they
all wrote it down, they had, and now I said, you have to debate. So we tried to facilitate,
ask questions, what about this, what about this. And then you get an answer. So the following day, we said,
what’s going on, you’re supposed to be debating, you’re
not even speaking. So then one student said,
well that’s because you two keep speaking. So we said, well we’re speaking
because you’re not speaking. She says, well, today,
we’re not going speak. So we waited, and we waited. To the one girl, I said okay,
well, you’re not speaking. So then the one student who
said something, spoke. And then, I guess she
talked to her partners. So the two of them started to
speak, but we could still not get the participation even
though she said we’re always talking, I couldn’t get a debate
going even when they had information in front of them
that said [unclear audio]. (Dr. Walvoord).
What I want to point out is that you asked
your students. And that is the point of this
part of the workshop, is ask your students, ask
your students. Ask them often and ask
them in different ways, listen to what they say. So the good move was I
think, to ask your students. In this case, what they told you
seemed to not have worked as well as you wanted it to, but it
was absolutely the right move when you’re stymied. Had anybody ever just stopped
class when it was going very badly, and say, take out a piece
of paper, write to me, how is this class going right now? (Kiran).
I’ve never done that badly. (Dr. Walvoord).
It’s my perception. I’ve said to my students,
it’s my perception that this class is dead. Is that your perception? Write to me, anonymously, take
our a piece of paper, write to me, is this class dead or alive? Or is it on life support, and
why, what’s your role in it, and what’s my role? It wakes them up, it shocks
them, it lets them know that I’m not just going to let
this dead class slide. It matters to me that we liven
it up, so now I want to hear from you, what’s going on here,
what can we do about this? Has anybody done that? It’s a good technique, it’s
called again ask your students, ask your students,
ask your students! Did you have an
experience doing this? (Lauren).
I didn’t do it written which maybe would
have been better, but it was very much was like a
frustrated moment, I guess. Because it was in the
middle of a discussion, nobody was saying
anything at all. I mean, I would ask a question,
kind of go quiet for a while, and there’s just nothing. So I asked them then,
what’s going on, why do the discussions seem to die? Do you? I mean, again, with my class, a
lot of it is the subject. They’re not interested
in learning about how to be successful. Most of them are just are
looking at the clock wanting it to be over, just trying
to get through it. So, I feel a lot of times like
I’m trying to entertain them, and I was just really tired of
it that day, so. (Andrew).
I’m interested in what kind of success
that you’re focused on, because I would think
that they would be highly. (Lauren).
Well, they’re forced to, they’re forced to be there, so. I think that, for them, they
see it more as a punishment. So from the very beginning, I
try and tell them, I think we all do, that you know, you can
really learn some effective strategies in this
class about how to be, how not to be in this again. How to set goals for yourself,
how to implement different strategies for studying, test
taking, anything like that. And also a lot of it is kind of
focused on self-esteem, a lot of these are students who have had
some bad, some worse grades I guess, and so they may not have
the self-esteem with grades. So It’s working on
that too, but they’re just not interested. (Danielle).
A lot of it too, like this doesn’t count
toward graduation, it just helps my GPA, I just
have to get a C in this class and pass it, and like
they don’t care, if they get a C that’s fine. But even, like we have it too
where you have to come to class like if you miss more than three
classes, like you’re down to a B, if you miss more than 4,
you’re down to a C, and 5, D, and so on and so forth. But still it’s just like,
it’s like trying to find how to do that. (Lauren).
So, yeah, they want to be successful,
but they also kind of don’t want to put in
the work to do that. (Andrew).
You know, I’ve had students like that, and
one of the things I have done in the past, that I
met with a person individually and tell them, you know I’ve
noticed that you haven’t been giving me your best effort, and
I want you to know that I believe that you have
what it takes to do this. And just kind of reinforce that
person’s self-esteem, and maybe change the mentality from I
can’t do this, to I can, sit down and explain that. Just give kind of really give
them a motivational talk, just say, I believe in you, we’ve all
been where you are, and I know that you can get
through this, what can I do to help you get it? And that’s worked effectively
for me in the past few years. (Dr. Walvoord).
If you asked your students at the very
beginning of the class, of the course, now. What could you imagine
happening in this course that would make it worthwhile to
you, what would they say? (female speaker).
Yeah, give me an A and don’t make me come. (Dr. Walvoord).
I wonder. (Lauren).
I don’t know, I’ve actually, I’ve had that
discussion with my class, you know, what is your
goal, just in general, of college, or college courses that
you’re in right now, not just simply mine but… And I think the majority, I
think, said that they want to see how this relates
to my future and how I can use this in the future. I think a lot of them are
frustrated, and I have a lot of mostly first and second year
students, so a lot of them are frustrated at this point with a
liberal arts college. I don’t think they understand
what else they’re learning, not just the content,
but the process. So I just really try to stress,
recently, that aspect. That you’re learning critical
thinking, descision making, all these different things that
you’re kind of learning by proxy I guess, along with the
content of the courses. So, yeah, maybe you’re not going
to be using algebra in your everyday lives, but what else
are you learning? So I think that they’re very
frustrated with not understanding that aspect of it. And I think moreso than getting
an A, absolutely they want the A, but they also want to
see how this is going to help them in the future. And they want to be told, I mean
they want kind of like how they’re being asked what’s not
going right, or what’s going right, but they want to
be involved in knowing how this can affect them. (Dr. Walvoord).
So again, I’m saying, this is right move,
it may not work out exactly as you had hoped. Don’t forget, you have a group
of students in there who bring habits of mind and experiences
with them that may in some cases, not all of them,
but in some cases that may just overwhelm them. They may not be successful in
college, or they may never engage in this course, no
matter what you do, because but you don’t give up on them. And, so far we’ve been talking
about “them” as though they were a monolithic whole, I’m sure
there are some students in there who have very different
attitudes from other students, at least, potentially. So it may be a situation where
what your own goal, personal goal, in this class, is to make
the class relevant and interesting and engaging to
those students who are capable of being engaged
in it at this point. So that you don’t beat yourself
up just because not everybody is engaging, but I’m a little
scared of that because I don’t want, I don’t ever
want us to give up on any student in our class. If the student, because that,
what should I say, that dampens my attitude towards the student
and I don’t ever want to do that, I want to keep trying. But, realistically I don’t go
home at night and lose sleep because this student has
not yet spoken in class. I’m doing everything I can. But the point of this part of
the workshop is, ask our students, ask our students,
ask our students. And we’re generating
some ideas about how we can ask our students. And we’ve had a
number of suggestions about how you can do that. I would suggest also, that it
might be possible at some point to ask someone else to
come into your class. And be a kind of moderator, to
talk to your students about their engagement in discussion
or about anything else. You can ask your students about
any question yourself, or you can ask someone else
to ask it for you. For example, I’m an English
teacher, but I was once asked by a Dental Hygiene faculty member,
to come into her class, which had about 60 students in it. It was a class where things were
going wrong, the students were not engaging, they were
dissatisfied, the teacher kind of didn’t know what to do. And she thought that the pull of
the dynamic of emotion between her and her students had reached
a point where it would be more effective, or at least where it
would be a good step to have a total outsider come in and talk
to the students in her absence. So she set up a meeting one day
and I came into the class, she introduced me to the class and
explained that she had asked me to come and talk to them, and
that I would be presenting back a report to her about what they
had said, but I would not identify individual
speakers or points of view. She left. So I turned to these Dental
Hygiene students, and I said okay, here are the
questions we are going to ask in this session. First of all, I want you to tell
me all the things that are going well about this class, the
things that are helpful to your learning, not what you like,
that was not the point, but helpful to your learning. So, we made a list. And then I said, what are
the things that are not so helpful to your
learning, or the suggestions you
have for changes. And we made a list. And then by the end of the
session, I read back or repeated back to those students, I said
this is what I’m going to tell your professor, if
it’s okay with you. So I had their okay, that this
was the sense of the group, this was a small minority felt this
way, you know, but they agreed, yes, you’ve got it right, this
is what we said, this is what we want conveyed to our professor. And so then I went and conveyed
that to the professor, and she, her next step now, is to come
back to the class and tell them, this is what I heard Dr.
Walvoord say, did I get it right, and this is what I’m
going to do about it. Or let’s talk about what
we can do about it, so we can make it
a joint effort. So there’s another strategy, ask
somebody else to talk with your students, that sometimes works. Here’s another strategy. Ask your students to respond in
writing online, you can do this almost on a daily basis, how did
class, these kinds of questions on page 14, except you just have
it coming in online. How did the class go today, what
do you think was helpful to your learning, what was not helpful
to your learning. What could you do that would
make things better. (male speaker 1).
So it’s a little bit like a one minute essay? (Dr. Walvoord).
It is, isn’t it? Except it’s self-reflective
on the class. (male speaker 1).
I usually ask, you know, what did you not understand? (Dr. Walvoord).
Yes. Yep. (male speaker 2).
I ask when they were really frustrated,
doing so bad on the test, I say, well what were you
expecting on this exam? And just tell me what you
prepared for, and I got some really interesting answers, so I
wanted to make sure that when they went in, what were they
expecting to see on it? And write some questions
that you thought were going to be on the exam. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yep, yep. It’s the listening attitude,
it’s your conveying that you are interested in what
they have to say, you believe that
they want to learn. You believe in them as human
beings, and you are willing to make some changes
based on what they say if it makes sense to you. Not that they are running the
course, they’re not, you’re running the course, sometimes
you say, no we’re not going to do it that way,
because I know best. But other times you may
say, thank you for these good ideas, I’m
going to use it. So ask your students is the
big, big, big message of this part of the workshop. And I want to show you
another instrument, and it begins on page 14. This is an international
marketing course that Madan
Batra taught at Indiana University
of Pennsylvania. He had a number of international
students in this course, he gave them a few weeks of classroom
activities and then he organized them into teams and sent them
out to do a major market analysis project. These were seniors, and
they came back with it at the end of the semester. So it was a difficult course to
run, because the students had to work in teams, they had a fairly
complicated task to do, there were students from multiple
cultures in that class, and they were working on their projects,
not necessarily under his thumb every single day, like some
classes would be, so. What he did was to list, I think
11 here, different tools and techniques that he used. And asked the students, not
did they like them, that’s not the point, but did
they achieve the goals? How well did this
technique achieve the goals that I wanted for it? So the first one is the project
outline about two-thirds of the way down, page14. And he gives them a little
reminder, you have to do this. Remind them what you
mean by that term so everybody’s on the same page. You were provided an outline of
the project along with a syllabus during the first week
of the semester, and then this tool, and it said, agree,
disagree format that he uses. The next one is page 15 at the
top, initial intensive guidance, how well did that work, same
choices as before. The work allocation sheet, the
internalization of the project, the written progress report,
assistance from the peer group. So he identifies his own
teaching strategies and asks them to give him feedback, now
he did this at the end, because they couldn’t really evaluate
until they got all the way through the course. So it’s worth is for
the next course, the next students coming in. But he did this for several
semesters until he had enough data to see that he didn’t have
just a weird semester that was an outlier in some regard. And, And, when he got done, he
published. (female speaker).
Been waiting to hear that. (Dr. Walvoord).
And not just Ann, but anybody else who
wants to publish from this stuff, there are outlets,
there are good, there are good outlets, and there are journals
and anthologies collected that are just crying for really good
nicely backed up stuff on pedagogy that will be
genuinely helpful to other faculty members. And they have trouble getting
high-quality material, so it’s very worthwhile to do this. And Madan published off of this
material and the reference is there if you want to look it up. On page 16 at the top, what
Madan does at the end is to give them a chance to just write
open-ended suggestions. He gets good information that
way, and then asks them some information that will help him
to understand their responses. So these are not anonymous, it
would be hard to make them anonymous anyway, because the
class is not that huge. But he’s not asking, notice the
difference between this and your typical student course
evaluation, he’s asking specifically about
teaching strategies. So they’re answering in
terms of the strategy, not him. Responses, suggestions,
ideas, stories? (Mary).
I can see where this would help, my position
here, my evaluation is solely based on
student evaluation. And I can see how this would
help prepare them to looking at pedagogy, not looking
into their like and dislike. I can see how this would help in
having honest student evaluations, and not just, you
know sometimes I see patterns, they all went down B. Maybe they will look at things
more seriously, instead of just wanting to give this evaluation
back at the end of the semester. . (Dr. Walvoord).
Now let me make one more suggestion,
has anybody ever put students in charge of leading
the discussion? Not making a presentation,
but leading a discussion? Let’s talk about that,
does that work? Anybody want to share? (Christy).
Well, my experience with that, they didn’t, even
after explaining it, they just weren’t asking each
other the right questions. And they had trouble making the
move from answering like a student to trying to ask
questions to get other students to answer like a student. So they can’t make the cross
from trying to lead like a teacher would lead. So I recognize that part of it
is because they don’t understand it, but part of it, I was
just surprised at the apathy for each other. Like I thought it was one thing
to not-talk to me, but another thing to refuse to talk to each
other when they are responisble to each other, and
also just talking at all. (Dr. Walvoord).
Really. Have other people had
similar experiences or better experiences? How has this worked? (male speaker).
I’ve had my classes before, like if you
find out you’re in a lecture portion at times with
the power point, just relaying the textbook material that we
need to make sure they have a conceptualization of, that I
look in the middle of the semester, sometimes I kind of
sense them checking out during that time, and so I have, we’re
going to do things different for the next two or three
class periods, I’m going to have you present
our reading. So I give a group of them
a chapter to present on, and that’s worked
effectively I think. And the students are attentive
to each other, it kind of shakes things up a bit, and if there’s
anything that needs clarification, or if I need to
add any additional things, I wait for the end of their
presentation, ask questions and have a dialogue or
debriefing after the students present
on that chapter. (Kiran).
There are some concepts in my courses that
are repeated from previous courses, so those kinds
of concepts I have the students basically take the discussion. But when I do that, I give them
guidelines about, they need to have one-page handout and what
are some of the things they need to have in that handout. And I specifically give them a
rubric saying that when you are presenting the discussion, when
you are facilitating the discussion, you cannot read out
from the handout. So some students do it really
well, some students struggle a little bit, but others help out,
so it does mostly work, I should say most of the time it has
worked pretty well. (Dr. Walvoord).
The key is to plan it and structure it
and guide them so that when I do this, I ask my
students to have, send to me and to their classmates some
questions that they will base the discussion on. And I have a peer evaluation at
the end of the discussion so each person feels like he or she
is held accountable for leading the discussion effectively. This business of them
not-helping one another, that’s kind of odd to me, I think I
would want to ask my students, why didn’t you help your
classmate here? Or ask the person who led, did
you get the response from your peers that you wanted? What is going on here, how can
we help you to help one another in a more effective way? I would be right on my students
to talk about that if I saw that dynamic in my classroom. Because when I’ve done this, not
just at Notre Dame, but at the University of Cincinnati, where
we had a wide variety of students coming through a public
institution, I did not have that dynamic, it worked for me to
have students be in charge of the discussion if they were
really well led and well coached, because
they did help each other more than they
would help me. So I don’t know what that
dynamic was, I would be right on them and ask them about that. Another thing, and I wonder if
anybody has done this, is I’ve taken a class and divided them
into groups of seven. And asked each group of seven as
one of their assignments, instead of a paper,
I mean I normally would assign several papers. Instead of a paper, I have each
group of seven lead, not lead but conduct without my saying
anything, a thirty-minute discussion of one of the
pieces of literature that we are studying. So each one does a different
piece and we’re moving through a body of, you know, work, this
time, because I have certain numbers of bodies of work that I
want them to read. But then for each one,
and I train them, I mean this is a very big deal. The first thing I do is I
ask seven graduate students to come in and be a fishbowl. Sit in the middle of my
classroom, everybody else watches and analyzes, and those
7 students spend 30 minutes discussing a piece of fiction
that all of us have read. And they kind of show
how the experts do it. And then my class debriefs what
they saw, how did they do it, how did they answer each
other, how do they keep the discussion going and so on. And then I have groups of seven,
each group does a fishbowl. Each on a different piece of
literature, because we’re moving through the syllabus now right? So now we’re doing this piece of
short fiction, it’s a short fiction course, now we’re doing
this piece of short fiction, now we’re doing this other
piece, now we’re doing this other piece. I am teaching techniques of
literary analysis as we go, so there’s a skill-building
effect as well. But then part of the class is
thirty minutes, okay it’s group A’s turn, you sit in the middle
of the class as a circle and you critique after the discussion,
you critique yourselves and the class helps you figure out what
you could have done better That’s an ungraded dry-run. Then I have the graded part, and
in that part, each group is assigned a time, and maybe the
class time, maybe not, the rest of the class is not
there, only me. So these seven students come
into the room, and they sit in a fishbowl, in a circle
rather, and I sit outside the circle
and take notes. And they have 30 minutes to
conduct a discussion. I have a rubric, it has to be a
discussion of high quality, they have to use the techniques of
literary analysis that we have been studying, and
then they get a grade. So when I did that, and I did it
a number of times, and I did it at the University of Cincinnati. What I was really doing was
training my students in a very intensive and very deliberate
way to conduct the kinds of discussions that I wanted. I didn’t leave it to
their, oh well, they should know how to do this. And I didn’t really leave it to
their, oh well, maybe they’ll volunteer to talk. Their grade for that piece, that
major project in the class, was dependent on their doing well as
a member of a discussion group. So they could not dominate,
that would cost them, they could not hang back. They had to contribute, not
everybody had to contribute exactly equally, but, you know. Has anybody done that kind of? (female speaker).
Yes, this is my kind of project for every
semester, you know. Depending on the number of
students I get each semester, you know, we make groups of four
people, and we do these discussions four times a
semester, you know. And they know the topics, they
do their research, they go through
journals, and they come prepared with their papers. And when they sit in their
groups, one is the leader and one is the recorder, to detail
the minutes of the discussion, and they take about 20 to 25
minutes sometimes 30 minutes, and after their small group
discussion, they come back as a whole group, and everybody goes
back to the whole group. And then the discussion breaks
up into [unclear audio]. So they know what the topic is
and it works very well, because you know, sometimes students,
they are comfortable in smaller groups rather
than larger groups. So. (Dr. Walvoord).
Other people have stories, questions, contributions here? Alright, we’ve kind of finished
the part of the workshop that says, ask your students, and
that deals around a question or an issue that several of you
raised, which was, how can I get my students more
engaged in discussion? Or, why aren’t they more engaged
in discussion, and how can I handle student discussion in a
large class which we haven’t done very much with
specifically, but the point here is, both to suggest what I’m
trying to do in the workshop is bring out some suggestions that
all of us can benefit from. But also, this is the real point
of the workshop, how could I answer my own question
in my own classroom? How can I gather good
information about what’s working and what’s not working? And so we looked at some of
these instruments that teachers have used to gather
that kind of information. Now we’re going to take about a
15 minute break, when we come back, we will go until 11:30,
and when we come back, we’re going to talk about some other
ways to answer your own questions about what’s going on
in your classroom. Fifteen minutes, so we’re going
to come back about 10:15. [people talking]. (Dr. Walvoord).
Now I want to address a slightly different
kind of question. Which is the question that
several of you enunciated, and I’m sure all of you care about. Which is how can I reduce my own
time that I’m spending? Or, to put, not so boldly,
baldly, how can I make sure that my own time is within reasonable
limits and that I’m getting a bang for every buck? Every moment of the time that I
put in is really counting. So when you have that kind of
question, how can I? I want to tell you a story about
a piece of research that I conducted and published, and
here was the situation. I was teaching a general
education literature class and I had chosen Shakespeare’s plays
as the topic of the course. And the class was capped at 45,
this was at the University of Cincinnati, the class
was capped at 45. But there were so many students
and so few faculty, that they English department could
not keep enough sections going to meet the demand. So before I began, and other
teachers had this same thing happen, before the semester
would begin, students who had been closed out of all sections
of this gen-ed literature course, which they needed to
graduate, would come pleading to our offices, saying please let
me in, please let me in. So I felt very bad that I, that
this was happening. And what I wanted to do was, not
just let a few students in the back door and you know tell them
they could sit on the floor. Some students said to me, I’ll
sit on the floor Dr. Walvoord, I have to graduate, just let
me in, please let me in, I’ll sit on the floor. So sad. So I wanted to accommodate these
students, I wanted to help my department, but I also wanted to
honor the department’s very hard-held limit on these courses
of 45 students so that we could have them write, and so that we
could conduct class discussion. If they get much bigger than
that, it’s really hard, and people knew this, so, I didn’t
want to just undermine what my department was trying to do. So I set myself a task,
I said, alright, here is what I would like to do. I would like to increase the
enrollment of this class up to somewhere between 65 and 70
students from what it is now. And I would like to have every
student write and talk every week, just as I would if
I had a class of 45. And I would like to spend no
more time, and if possible, less time, on this class
than I did before. So those were my three goals. Now if any of those sound like
goals that you might have, jot them down right now, because
these are some of the kinds of goals that you can have. We’ve dealt in the first part of
this workshop with, why aren’t my students, or how can
i get my students to? Now we’re turning to a little
bit different framing of the goals, How can I get more,
handle more students in this class, reduce my own time, but
also do the things that I know lead to good learning? So having identified these
goals, I now needed to identify some ways that I could keep
track of whether I had reached these goals or not. Never mind the pedagogy for the
moment, that had to be planned. But how am I going to tell
whether I have reduced my time. How am I going to tell whether
my students have learned as well, or better, than they did
in the old system? How am I going to tell whether
every student talked every week? So I need instruments then
to measure whether I am achieving these goals. So here is what I did, well, you
tell me, what would you use. The goal, I would not
spend any more time than I am currently spending. What do you need? (Kiran).
A time log? (Dr. Walvoord).
Yeah, that’s what I did. I kept a time log of how
much time I spent. Now, it’s hard to keep a time
log, we’re not used to it, and sometimes we’re double tasking. You know I’m doing one thing
while doing another, grading papers while doing something
else, nevermind what. But I tried as best I could
to keep a time log of how much time I was actually
spending on this course. Now, if I’m going to ask myself,
are students learning as well as they did in the old
system, what do I need? Like, a rubric. That’s what I used,
I used a rubric. And a version of the rubric that
I used, or the kind of rubric that I used, there are several
rubrics that I included in here. And, one for biology starts on
page 15, no, 8, sorry, is it 8? (female speaker).
18. (Dr. Walvoord).
18. The one for biology
starts on 18. Is that right? No, that’s the departmental. Let me see, sorry I
have my own copy. What I want is the
biology rubric that starts on the unnumbered page. Oh, okay It’s page 3, yeah it’s
page 3, thank you. What would be page 3. It says Appendix A Sample Rubric
for Student Work. I don’t know why the page
numbering system quit at that point, but it did, took a rest. Page 3 Appendix A Sample Rubric
for Student Work. Here’s one for biology, you
can see that it follows the pattern that
most rubrics do. The qualities of the
paper that are going to be evaluated are
in bold italics. So for a semester-long research
project, this biology teacher is going to evaluate how well the
students wrote the title of their scientific report, the
introduction, the scientific format and so on. Materials and methods,
non-experimental information, and then under each of these,
she has a five level you can use four, three, whatever, level
description of student work. These are not points, these
are numeric indicators of levels of student work. So if you look on page four,
materials and methods section. This is a scientific report
these students have conducted scientific research all semester
long, they have written it up in scientific report format, and
this is just a section of the rubric that is going to be used
to evaluate their work. Now she says materials
and methods section, you can see how
she lays it out. Five contains effective
quantifiable concisely organised information that
allows the experiment to be replicated and so on. That’s the top performance she
would expect from these undergraduate student majors. Then comes four, and three, then
the computer decided it needed a page break, has a
mind of its own. So on the next page,
page 2, item number 2, or level number 2. Only marginally
replicable, and 1 is a bust. So she does that
for each of these. How many of you use a
rubric for at least one of your assignments
or courses? There are a lot of things to say
about rubrics pedagogically, what I’m interested in about
them now, in the context of this workshop, is that they allow a
very fine-grained diagnostic analysis of student work. So you’re not just
dependent on the grade. Before she did this rubric,
Ginny would, she would look at her students’ work, and
she would say, well this one is a B, this one is a C+. Then she would try to
explain to the students in comments what they had done. And that’s all fine and good,
but it doesn’t give you the kind of very precise analysis of
different parts of the task the way this rubric does. So you can see that on page 7,
she can compare her scores for two different years
on the rubric. These are class averages. So in year 1 the average score
for title was 2.95 on that 5 point scale, the average
for introduction was 3.18, and so on. In year 2, all
the scores went up. You can tell where the
students were weakest. Let’s just use year 1 to keep it
simple, in year 1, run your eye down that column and
tell me where the students got the lowest score. (male speaker).
Designing the experiment. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yeah. So that might be what she might
want to work on the most. And you notice they improved a
lot in designing the experiment in the second year, but it was
still, it was not the lowest, but it was still lower than you
probably would want. (male speaker).
Did she share this rubric with the students? (Dr. Walvoord).
Yes. (Kiran).
In both the years? (Dr. Walvoord).
Yes. It’s very important to
share the rubric. Very important to
share the rubric. (female speaker).
The outcome? How about the outcome, did she
share one year’s outcome with the second year. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yeah, I would. I would. No, I have to come back, the
first year she did not share the rubric, and probably part of the
thing that raised the scores was, she shared the rubric. Because now they knew
what the, that’s not cheating, that’s
not cheating. She also made some other
pedagogical changes between year 1 and year 2, which probably
influenced, although it could have been a better
group to begin with. But she did sustain these higher
scores in future years, and we have other data about how
the students worked, so this is another. This is again an ordinary
biology teacher, right, teaching four courses at a time, at a
mid-sized state university, Towson University in Maryland,
gets probably about the same kinds of students that you do,
whole range of folks. And she’s teaching, she’s not
only teaching this heavy load, but she’s also, during the time
that we did this research, she was finishing her Ph. D. At a university that was about
45 miles away from her home. So, and she is a single mom,
she was at that time a single mom of two
teenagers and a toddler. So this woman had
a lot on her plate. But you see the kind of careful
analysis, she’s a scientist too. She does this kind of careful
analysis of the strengths and weaknesses, and this allows her
to track some pedagogical changes that she makes,
and then to publish. And the reference for this is, I
hope it’s given in here, at the beginning of the rubric, if not,
I’ll give it to you. Oh, how did it get left off? Oh, I’m sorry that I left off
the reference to this, the article. (female speaker).
On page 8, we are looking at page 8? (Dr. Walvoord).
No, no, that’s something else, that’s the analysis
for the math class. The name of the book is
called “Thinking and Writing in College”. I’m the first author, “Thinking
and Writing in College.” And one of the chapters
is by Ginny and me. So if you wanted to look up that
chapter, that’s an example of something that could have
been an article, happens to be a book chapter. (female speaker).
You’re the first author of it? (Dr. Walvoord).
Yeah, I’m the first author of the
book, so if you get the book, it’ll be one of the
chapters. There are some other chapters in
there that I did with other teachers, a historian, a
business faculty member, and a psychologist. So what I’m saying is, one
of the tools that I had to use to achieve my goal
of the same or better student learning, was a rubric. So now I have two tools, my
goals are reduce my time, have every student write and speak,
have them learn as well or better and increase class size. Alright, so what methods, what
tools do I need, for my time, I need a log, for did the students
learn as well or better, I need a rubric like this. For did my students write and
speak at least once, I needed some classroom records
of who wrote and spoke. And for, I want to increase my
class size, I needed of course, that was easily my class roster. So I went to the chair of my
department, and I told him, and the director of undergraduate
studies, and I told them about this plan, that I would
like to experiment. And they said,
wonderful, go ahead. I also talked to members of the
department steering committee who were senior professors about
this plan, so it was not a secret to my colleagues. And so then I launched this
experiment, they gave me 70 students in my class,
and it got down to 67 I guess, after some drops. And I ran a new pedagogy. And I used my instruments
to see whether I was doing better or not. My new pedagogy was that I never
met this class, after the first two days, I never met this
class again as 67 souls sitting in a big lecture hall. I decided to do something really
radical, because I thought if I have these students sitting in
this big lecture hall, there’s nothing I can do that’s going to
really achieve my goals. Maybe if I would use some of the
strategies that you know so well, I would have been able to
make at least a partial success out of it, Nancy, but I just
didn’t want to do it that way. So I divided the students into
smaller groups, and I had each group meet once a week. And when they met, they were to
come to class having read the play, read the secondary
material that I assigned them, written a short assignment, and
come in ready to talk. And we arranged our
chairs like this, and the discussion was intense for
that 50 minute class period. Those students were on the mark. Every one of them was expected
to talk, every one of them had written, and I didn’t spend a
lot of time on those papers they wrote because the class
was the response. So in the class, I
asked them to respond to what they had written. So for example, if this was the
day on Hamlet, I asked them to write, did you think that at any
point in the play, Hamlet actually was mad or was he
faking mad just the whole way. They had to answer that
question, and they had to list at least three
passages from the play that supported
their position. So we came in, there were about,
I had five groups, so there were about 12 to 15 students in the
room and we just went at it. I mean, I began just calling on
them like that, because they had papers, Jane, what did you have,
was Hamlet mad? Jerry what did you have? Did anybody else support that
position, would you go up and put that on the board? You know, just moving it, just
very rapid fire, and they were expected to take notes and all
of this led to a paper that they had to write later, in
which they discussed some aspect of Shakespeare’s plays, like
compare the treatment of madness in Othello and Hamlet. Or you know compare the villain
in MacBeth and whatever. So these discussions led right
in to their papers, it was an enormously successful class. I used another instrument that I
haven’t named so far, and that was the IDEA Student Evaluation. Which is a student evaluation
national instrument, and I give the website on page 16. It’s learning oriented, it asks
the students, first it asks you, what you wanted them to learn,
you choose from among a series of goals, Page 16. Where it says example 3, course
evaluations, and then in blue there’s a website address there. That’s the IDEA student
evaluation. So I use that. And I used it because it asks
students what they thought they learned, as well as other things
like, you know was the teacher well organized and all that. You can, by the way, you can use
that IDEA student evaluation, it’s a national instrument, you
can use it on your own. Used to be 35 bucks, and so what
I did was I just signed up independently on my own,
contacted them and said, can you send me the forms,
I want to do this. And they did. So, I had the course evaluation
also, to hear what my students thought they learned. So I had the rubrics, I had my
other records, I had the course evaluation, and what I showed
was that this new strategy of working with students in small
intensive discussion groups, having them write and speak
every day, resulted in, similar or better learning, less time
for me, very high student satisfaction, they loved it, and
every student spoke and wrote every week. And there were 67 of them that
survived in the class. Now, I had a few drops when I
explained the course. Because some students felt that
they couldn’t write and talk every week. But I checked, and there were
twenty-some-odd other sections of this course at the university
that semester. And I asked my director of
undergraduate studies to check for me whether my rate of drops
was higher than other sections and it was not, it was average. So it was a very successful
experiment in the sense that I had good data, and it was also
successful in the sense that what I tried worked. But even if what I had tried had
not worked, I would have still learned something. So, so I’m telling this
story in order to suggest some
strategies for you. So now I want you to take your
own question, that you had written down at the beginning of
this workshop, and think about all the strategies that we’ve
talked about so far. Including the ones we’ve talked
about before the break, and begin to think to yourself now,
alright, to answer this question, or address this goal
that I have written down, what instruments am I going to need? Not, what pedagogies am I
going to use, that’s a different piece, but what
instruments am I going to need? Am I going to need a rubric, am
I going to need a time log, am I going to need a student, some
way of asking my students, if so, what ideas do I
have now about what I need to ask them
and what format? So you’re going to plan your
research, and what you’re planning right now is the
materials and methods, to go over to biology for a minute. You’re planning the methods and
materials of your own research. So I want to give you about
seven or eight minutes to start jotting down, and you can work
together if you wish, talk to each other, but start jotting
down some ideas for yourself. What instruments am I going to
need that will help me know whether I met my goal? [audience conversation]. (Dr. Walvoord).
Okay, let’s take one of the common types of
questions that you have. Why aren’t they? Monica, why aren’t they getting
a concept that I’m working so hard on, and Lauren
why aren’t they engaging in group discussion? And in a way, Mary, how do I
engage them, or why aren’t they getting into group discussion? Danielle, not quite why aren’t
they, but how do I know if they are, applying what
they have learned? And then the issue of if there
are non-native students in the class, how is
that affecting things? So some more why aren’t they. Some of the others of you
could be stated as a why aren’t they, but let’s
take those as examples. So to answer the question why
aren’t they, what would be some of the measures
that you would use? Anybody who is doing that,
or anybody, anybody, what are you going to use. (Monica).
I think that I will use a rubric to say here’s
what they all need to learn, instead of just
putting them in groups and saying, here’s what I
want from you, here’s what you’re supposed to learn. If I had a more, I’d like the
idea that I should of had a rubric to say, to say here’s
steps A, B, C. And I think had I had them work
in groups, try smaller groups, because the class tends
to be 45, which is a large class actually. (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s a hard size. (Monica).
And I’m spending a lot of time grading all
these papers, and writing all those comments, so
in terms of time, maybe I didn’t spend enough time explaining
clearly enough giving them examples. So I’m thinking I needed a
rubric, I need a time log, and I need to ask some student
questions. I think that would help me
answer some of my questions. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yep, yep. And ideally what you would get
from those measures is information that would help you
to teach those concepts better, so they would get it better. Anybody else want to
talk about their plan? Go ahead. (Danielle).
I think I would probably use part of the
self-report, but I think I would modify it a little
and, like, maybe have a question on there at the end, be like,
you know, What was like the main point of the conversation today,
what was the main thing you pulled out of it? Because I think that would
really help me understand, and… (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s a kind of, Tom Angelo, one
minute paper deal. (Danielle).
And then like, I actually do this in one of
the classes that I have at my graduate work, and
we have to set a goal every week, of what we’re going to do
for the next class period. And I think I would add that to
it too, what are you going to do to help the class next week. So. (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s good, yep, yep. Sounds good. Anybody, comments, suggestions? Or helps on that one? (Mary).
I definitely like the student responses,
the student self-report. That’s definitely going to be on
there, so that way they know up front what I’m expecting. And then I think I am also going
to look at it so that they can tell me, because as you’re
talking, I’m looking at, I have two sections of the same
dog-gone class, and the dynamics are so different, and as I look
at each student individually, you know, I have a class of
really shy students. And so the dynamics there are so
different, can they tell me up front, what their anxieties are,
prior to my, you know, making them make these bold statements
that they’re not comfortable doing, so I need to know those
kinds of situations up front. (Dr. Walvoord).
That’s good, that’s good. (Kiran).
I’ve done this, not all of it I should say. I have had learning contacts
kind of thing in the beginning of the semester, I ask
them to put what are their expectations
from this course. And I should have done it more
frequently during the semester, but I just had them look
at it towards the end of the semester only. I think maybe if I had looked,
had them look at that contract, and what their goals are for the
course, because the first week of the semester, that’s what we
always taught, that this is a learning community, both you and
I will be learning from each other, we are to set goals. These are my expectations from
the course, and I ask them to list out what are their
expectations from the course, what are some of the things they
think they will be learning. And they have to come up with
kind of a learning contract kind of thing, these are some of the
things I will work with, work on, for this course. I should revisit that
more often I’m thinking. (Dr. Walvoord).
Yep, yep. (Monica).
Can I ask a question about the learning contract? (Kiran).
Mhm. (Monica).
When you do it, do you set them up together
or do you put it together, I’m not saying
what you may do now, I’m saying what you
did in the past. You did the learning contract,
you said to them, this is the expectations, or did you say. (Kiran).
They write down at least six to eight statements
about what are some of the things that they
have, they expect from this course, and they sign it, and I
keep it with me, and I give them a copy so that they can keep
looking at it, at the end of the semester we again go back
through those contracts and see how much of those
goals were achieved. (Dr. Walvoord).
Anybody else? Questions or contributions. (male speaker).
I was thinking about the rubric, I use a
rubric, but I think as a teaching tool it is effective if
it prompts the questions that they need to ask to follow
through and go through. I like to keep rubrics a little
flexible because you want to be able to accomodate insight
genius and whatever else might come out of the class. And they can make you lose sight
of what the students actually doing at times, if you’re not
too flexible. So I think you know trying to
then but giving an accurate measure which parts are working
and will be effective. This survey, I think is going to
be very important to eventually seeing the big picture and the
particulars of that big picture and they would be useful online,
and I think I’m fine with that. (Dr. Walvoord).
Anybody else want to talk about your plan
or ask anybody else any questions? Bring up issues. Alright, then, let me tell
another story that might be helpful to you as you kind of
refine your task. And this one has to do with
looking at the research literature, which is a piece we
haven’t talked about yet, but it can be enormously helpful. Here’s another true story. Chemistry teacher at a large
university, teaching general chemistry, which is enrolled by
would-be chemistry majors as well as majors or
prospective majors in a bunch of other fields. So there’s a lot of varied
students in there, some of whom are intensely interested
in chemistry, and some definitely not. And the sections are 250
students, sections are 250 students, now you
probably don’t have sections quite that big here. So this guy is looking at his
grades and he’s got too high a percentage of students who are
getting a C or below or withdrawing or failing
general chemistry. And he’s unhappy about this,
he’s thinking, do all these students really have to fail? Or do they have to drop out, do
we need to do it this way? And so he says, alright,
I’m going to take a look at why this is happening. So it starts out as a why is
this happening, why are all these students doing so poorly
in this class and is there anything we can do about it? So the first thing he does is to
talk to some students, some students who are doing well,
some students who are not doing well, some students who have
dropped this course. He talks to them. And he says, what’s going on,
what’s hard for you, why did you drop, why did you have
such a hard time? And he gleans
information from his students. So he takes a few hours
to track down some of these students and
talk to them. Not a few hours each, mind
you but just to talk to some of the students. And the next thing he does is to
try to find out whether there is some reason that so many of them
are having difficulty. And one of the places he looks
is in the correlation between their success in general
chemistry and their entering math ACT scores. And their high school grades. So he gets those, he gets that
information from his institution’s database, and the
guy from IR helps him. Institutional
Research helps him. Now there’s a resource issue
there, but there was somebody there who would help
him with this project. And, he saw that there was not a
clear correlation between failure in chemistry in college
and high school grades, but there was a clear correlation
between failure in chemistry in college and entering
SAT math scores. So, hm, what does that mean? He then formed a hypothesis, and
his hypothesis from these two kinds of data, the correlation
with the SAT scores and talking to his students, and also just
his general experience as a teacher watching these
students and going over their homework and all that. He hypothesized that the
reason that these students were having difficulty was
because they didn’t know how to solve problems. And the difference often between
high school chemistry and college chemistry is that in
college chemistry you are taught rigorously, you need to know
what you’re doing. You’ve got to
understand the concepts. Whereas in high school many of
them were able to get by in sort of a plug and chug
apply-the-recipe mode without really understanding
the problem solving systems that were going on. So that was his hypothesis. Now he goes to the literature,
and the way to do this is to get on, one way to do this is to get
on a database called ERIC. E-R-I-C. It’s a part of EBSCO. And your librarian
can help you with it if you are unfamiliar with it. ERIC indexes articles and if you
choose the right choice, you can also get conference
presentations and white papers and stuff, but choose just
articles for the moment. Articles about student learning
in all kinds of journals, not just education journals, but
journals like The Sociology Teacher, or Economics Education,
all these different disciplinary journals that carry education
pedagogical articles, they’ll be indexed in ERIC. And if you can find the right
key words to search in ERIC, you will get some articles, you will
get an entree into the literature about how the
students learn in your field Finding the right
descriptors is really key. So, you know if you can’t, one
way to find good descriptors is to get one article that hits
what you want, and look what the descriptors are and
then now you’ve got it. Another way is to go to
your librarian and say help me search ERIC. Another way is to
kind of muck around until you find what you need. And that’s easier in some, in
some disciplines than others. “Biology” plus “Higher
Education” plus “instructional techniques” I think is the
keyword there will get you a nice little selection. But if you put “English” in
there, it’s going to give you everything about
English language. If you put “Economics” in there,
it’s going to get you some stuff about university finance. So it can be difficult but it’s
a good thesaurus in ERIC and it’s a good searchable tool,
so that’s where to start. So that’s what this chemist did,
he’d never been in ERIC before, but he got on ERIC and he found
some, he found a body of research about how students
learn problem solving in science and particularly in chemistry. And he found some pedagogical
strategies that people had shown to have worked, and they
had evidence that it had. And he found the work of some of
the key leaders in the field, Richard Hake and others who had
written both books and articles about different ways of teaching
chemistry that would help students more effectively. And what he found in this
literature is that what seems to matter, for students who were
having trouble with problem solving in science, what seems
to matter and what seems to work is, get students involved in
group work that is meaningful, not frivolous or a waste of
time, not chitchat. But get them involved in group
problem solving, because the group is motivational, and they
will help each other. Second, frequent feedback,
third, practice, practice, practice, practice problem
solving, get feedback, practice problem solving, get feedback. So those were the three items,
so now he changes his pedagogy in order to incorporate
those items. And here’s what he does, he asks
the registrar to assign to his class of 250, class size isn’t
going to change, there aren’t the resources to do that. He asks the
registrar to hold his section of 250 for students
who are in the lowest quartile of SAT math scores. So now he’s got
them all together. And he can try some strategies. At the same time he asks the
institutional research office to identify for him a matched group
of students from previous years who had the same SAT scores,
same gender distribution, same high school grades. So now he has a matched group. Some from previous years when
they were all bound together in this big lecture class, and some
from his new class. So he’s actually got now, which
is hard to achieve, in higher education, but he’s
actually now got a control treatment
kind of design. Hard to do, but he
was able to do it. So now he changes his pedagogy,
and instead of non-stop lecture to these 250 students, he’ll
lecture a little bit, he’ll stop, he’ll ask them to turn to
their neighbor, get in a little group of three, give
them a problem, they have to solve the problem. So it’s problem solving, problem
solving, problem solving, problem solving. Furthermore, he changes what
happens to them on Fridays. On Friday now they meet in
small groups with a TA and the TA’s job is very
specific, solve problems. Not just go over the lecture
material, which is what a lot of TAs do, but help
them solve problems. And the third thing that he does
is ask them to do the homework and have the homework graded. So he changes the pedagogy, it’s
more time-intensive in this case, and he has an
extra TA assigned to him for this purpose. And you folks have
very few TAs if any, and certainly not any
PhD. graduate student TAs, but I’m not so
interested in the resources that he had
or his class size. I’m interested in the process. This is what is relavent to you. He identified a problem, he
tried to find out why the problem was happening,
by asking students, and by looking at some data. He looked at the literature,
and this is the part I am emphasizing in this
part of the workshop. He looked at the literature, and
he then made a hypothesis about what this, about
what was happening. Changed his pedagogy,
and then looked again. What did he look at? He looked at student test scores
on the same test that was given to all the sections. So did these students
do better on the test? He looked at their
grades in chemistry. And eventually he looked at
whether they came back and took other chemistry courses
and how they did. So you see what his measures
were, students’ test scores, students’ grades, and
he also did some interviewing with students. So he had several measures, he
introduced a new pedagogy, he used his new measures, and again
this was a successful one. What he showed was that these
students advanced on the average almost a full grade on
their test scores. The test was not dumbed down, it
was the same test as all the other sections took. But he managed by his strategies
to raise his students’ average grade almost a full grade. That’s astounding. And, subsequently, some, I can’t
remember the numbers, but some large percent of them, larger
percentage of them, than the matched group from
before, went on to take other science courses. So it’s a real success story,
the guy, whose name is Dennis Jacobs, became, was chosen for
this work, he was chosen, one of 25 national Carnegie
Scholars in that year. His work is on the website of
the Carnegie Foundation for the advancement of
teaching and learning. And, I don’t know if you
consider this a good outcome or a bad outcome, but
he’s now the provost. I’m sorry, he’s not the provost,
he’s an associate provost and vice-president for
undergraduate education at the University
of Notre Dame. So he went up, he went
on to administration, he’s a very talented guy. But whether or not you think
that’s a downfall or a success story, what he did is
what I’m trying to say. He followed a process, which is
what this workshop is about, and the piece that I want to
emphasize in this very last part is he looked at the literature. At a key point in his
investigation, he looked at the literature, and the literature
helped him to change his pedagogy in ways that
might be successful. So, when you are thinking, well
how can I get my students more involved, how can I help my
students with this concept, how can I, or why aren’t they,
those kinds of questions. It’s useful often, to spend some
time looking at the literature, because somebody else is going
to be able to say something that will help you in the right
direction or save you some time muddling around
reinventing the wheel. So that’s my point for this last
part of the workshop. Alright, so let’s sum up. This workshop, we tried to say,
how do I know whether my teaching strategy is working,
or other variations of that question. Why aren’t they, how do I,
what’s wrong here, how do I know, and so on and so on. And we talked about strategies
for looking for answering your own question. And what I hope you have out of
here is some ways in which you can move forward now in your own
teaching career, to get your own questions answered, and to
gather better ongoing data about what’s going on
in your classroom. It’s a little bit like we added
a barometer to the ship. And a temperature
gauge and a rainfall monitor and a salinity monitor. You know you keep adding ways to
your ship to gather information, so that you can steer the
course more effectively, that’s what it’s about. So thank you very much for
being here, I appreciate it. I’ll be happy to talk to anybody
afterwards about your individual plans, we have a few minutes for
that, so if you want to stop and talk about your individual plan,
that will be fine. Please fill out the green
response sheet before you go. And you can leave it on the
table here or the table outside, whatever, we’ll pick them up. Thank you. [audience applause]. ♪ [music playing–
no dialogue] ♪♪.

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