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WORKING SKILLFULLY WITH THE EMOTIONAL RHYTHMS OF COLLEGE LEARNING Stephen Brookfield University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul Stephen Brookfield.

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Presentation on theme: "WORKING SKILLFULLY WITH THE EMOTIONAL RHYTHMS OF COLLEGE LEARNING Stephen Brookfield University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul Stephen Brookfield."— Presentation transcript:

1 WORKING SKILLFULLY WITH THE EMOTIONAL RHYTHMS OF COLLEGE LEARNING Stephen Brookfield University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul Stephen Brookfield University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis-St. Paul

2 Situating Myself How we learn frames how we teach Exam Failure – Subverting standardized measures / the importance of secretaries My Doctoral Study - the relational underpinning to teaching How we learn frames how we teach Exam Failure – Subverting standardized measures / the importance of secretaries My Doctoral Study - the relational underpinning to teaching

3 Core Assumption (1) Good teaching is equivalent to whatever helps students learn Much more complex than it appears since what helps one student learn may be confusing or intimidating to another student Example – Walking out of the 1 st class & leaving the students with no teacher! Good teaching is equivalent to whatever helps students learn Much more complex than it appears since what helps one student learn may be confusing or intimidating to another student Example – Walking out of the 1 st class & leaving the students with no teacher!

4 Rationale When working with resistant students your own justifications for a course are dismissed. The only voices students will take seriously are those of former resisters. Therefore, a good strategy is to begin with a panel of former resistant students who pass on any advice they wish to new students. During the panel you exit so new students don’t think you’re scripting what’s said When working with resistant students your own justifications for a course are dismissed. The only voices students will take seriously are those of former resisters. Therefore, a good strategy is to begin with a panel of former resistant students who pass on any advice they wish to new students. During the panel you exit so new students don’t think you’re scripting what’s said

5 Helpers of Learning Departmental Secretaries – the sympathetic ear & the hub of all knowledge Janitors – the power to make or break learning Support Staff – the ‘face’ of the institution / troubleshooters & systems designers for students Administrators – enablers of faculty learning Departmental Secretaries – the sympathetic ear & the hub of all knowledge Janitors – the power to make or break learning Support Staff – the ‘face’ of the institution / troubleshooters & systems designers for students Administrators – enablers of faculty learning

6 Core Assumption (2) Best teachers constantly check out the assumptions they’re making about how best to help students learn. Examples Circles encourage small group discussion & make students feel welcomed members of a democratic classroom Visiting small groups as they conduct discussions helps students understand the material better Best teachers constantly check out the assumptions they’re making about how best to help students learn. Examples Circles encourage small group discussion & make students feel welcomed members of a democratic classroom Visiting small groups as they conduct discussions helps students understand the material better

7 Students’ Contrary Feedback Circles are intimidating configurations in which students feel pressured to participate in a highly surveyed environment – a personal experience I discounted for many years Teachers visiting small groups cause students to change behavior to perform for the teacher as ‘good’ students & actually inhibit good listening & silent processing Circles are intimidating configurations in which students feel pressured to participate in a highly surveyed environment – a personal experience I discounted for many years Teachers visiting small groups cause students to change behavior to perform for the teacher as ‘good’ students & actually inhibit good listening & silent processing

8 Core Assumption (3) The most important knowledge we need to do good work is an awareness of how students experience learning, week in, week out, in our classrooms. This means we need to find ways of gathering accurate & valid data from students – anonymity The most important knowledge we need to do good work is an awareness of how students experience learning, week in, week out, in our classrooms. This means we need to find ways of gathering accurate & valid data from students – anonymity

9 Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ) Most Engaged Moment Most Distanced Moment Most Helpful Action Most Puzzling Action What Surprised You Most Most Engaged Moment Most Distanced Moment Most Helpful Action Most Puzzling Action What Surprised You Most

10 How It’s Administered Last 5 minutes of last class of the week / staff meeting Anonymous Mandatory when possible Frequency Analysis Reported back to class Negotiation not capitulation to majority opinion Last 5 minutes of last class of the week / staff meeting Anonymous Mandatory when possible Frequency Analysis Reported back to class Negotiation not capitulation to majority opinion

11 CIQ – free download My home page has a link to the CIQ & to many other materials on … teaching using discussions developing critical thinkers becoming critically reflective teaching about race NO NEED TO ASK PERMISSION – YOU HAVE IT! My home page has a link to the CIQ & to many other materials on … teaching using discussions developing critical thinkers becoming critically reflective teaching about race NO NEED TO ASK PERMISSION – YOU HAVE IT!

12 How Do Adult Students Experience College? Impostorship – I don’t deserve to be here & I’ll soon be found out Cultural Suicide – Sharing enthusiasms & successes leads to exclusion from the group Road Running – incrementally fluctuating 2 steps forward 1 step back Peer Support Group – the parachute Impostorship – I don’t deserve to be here & I’ll soon be found out Cultural Suicide – Sharing enthusiasms & successes leads to exclusion from the group Road Running – incrementally fluctuating 2 steps forward 1 step back Peer Support Group – the parachute

13 What Do Students Say They Look For in Us as Teachers? They need teachers to be CREDIBLE Expertise – answering unexpected questions Experience – using good examples Rationale – explaining what’s happening Conviction – individual feedback They need teachers to be CREDIBLE Expertise – answering unexpected questions Experience – using good examples Rationale – explaining what’s happening Conviction – individual feedback

14 What Do Students Say They Look For in Us as Teachers? They need teachers to be AUTHENTIC Congruence – words & actions Full Disclosure – expectations, agendas, criteria Responsiveness – to students’ concerns Personhood – autobiographical examples Error – against a backdrop of earned credibility They need teachers to be AUTHENTIC Congruence – words & actions Full Disclosure – expectations, agendas, criteria Responsiveness – to students’ concerns Personhood – autobiographical examples Error – against a backdrop of earned credibility

15 Core Assumption (4) Context Changes Everything – the teaching learning dynamic is so complex that we should be appropriately skeptical of ‘best practices’ that purport to cross disciplinary boundaries & that ignore differences in learners, topic complexity, models of information-processing, students’ readiness to learn, prior knowledge etc., etc.

16 RESOURCES from Stephen Books that Emphasize Practice: Teaching for Critical Thinking (2012) The Skillful Teacher (2006, 2 nd. Ed.) Discussion as a Way of Teaching (w/ Stephen Preskill, 2005, 2 nd. Ed.) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995) Books that Emphasize Practice: Teaching for Critical Thinking (2012) The Skillful Teacher (2006, 2 nd. Ed.) Discussion as a Way of Teaching (w/ Stephen Preskill, 2005, 2 nd. Ed.) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (1995)

17 RESOURCES from Stephen Books that Emphasize Theory: Radicalizing Learning (w/ John Holst) 2010 Handbook of Race & Adult Education (w/ Vanessa Sheared et. al.) Learning as a Way of Leading (w/ Stephen Preskill) 2008 The Power of Critical Theory (2004) All published by Jossey-Bass Books that Emphasize Theory: Radicalizing Learning (w/ John Holst) 2010 Handbook of Race & Adult Education (w/ Vanessa Sheared et. al.) Learning as a Way of Leading (w/ Stephen Preskill) 2008 The Power of Critical Theory (2004) All published by Jossey-Bass


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