Thursday, September 28, 2006

Catching up!

It's been a while since I have blogged, and I have missed the process. Perhaps because no blogging = too busy.

I have been storing up some teaching observations, however.

1. My son is taking skating lessons--Beginner Level 1. Not unlike English 110, right? So what's the pedagogy? In a 45 minute session the instructors must have asked the kids to try 10-15 different things: arms out, knees bent, in and out, push and glide, etc., etc.. No "drill and skill." No "keep doing it till you get it right." More of a "try this skill, then this skills, then this one--have some fun. Week 2 they actually did slow down a little bit, and tried to be more interventionist--the instructors in Week 1 were doing some informal evaluation, looking for strong skaters and weak skater, and now they were trying to address specific issues with individual students. Proud Canadian Dad moment: when an instructor worked with my son 1-on-1 a few times, she asked him to demonstrate a couple of different skills, then asked him to move up to the next level for week 3. Just like being invited to skip 110?

2. I just came back from teaching in SE 314--NDSU's first really flexible, wireless, classroom. What a blast. I had notes on the north and south chalk boards, I was displaying CTW with the document reader up front, then I showed a little PPT, and we finished up with 25 minutes of group work, where the students did a decent job of moving tables around and really working together. This classroom isn't huge, but I was able to be much more mobile, and the students had more room and flexibility than Minard 204. The medium is the massage; the room massages the pedagogy and learning.

3. TA blogs sounded the theme "I have failed my students!" Most were able to recognize that they hadn't failed their students, but what an interesting response for so many of them to have. Being a TA is really "stepping behind the curtain." As students, they were all good writers, but probably didn't realize how others were doing in class. Now that they see the whole picture, they are finding the 1, 2, or 3 students who were like them, but also finding that 18-20 have skills that range from "okay" to "yikes"!

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