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"Teaching to Size: Scaling Classroom Activities” Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts PhD Department of Languages and Literatures August 16, 2011 New Faculty Orientation.

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Presentation on theme: ""Teaching to Size: Scaling Classroom Activities” Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts PhD Department of Languages and Literatures August 16, 2011 New Faculty Orientation."— Presentation transcript:

1 "Teaching to Size: Scaling Classroom Activities” Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts PhD Department of Languages and Literatures August 16, 2011 New Faculty Orientation

2 Objectives  What is a large class?  What do we need?  How to relate to students?  How to get to know them?  Technology in the classroom  Keeping their attention  Success

3 A Large Class  The current economic situation  More than 100, up to…  We all feel intimidated, even the experienced teachers  Do students feel isolated?  Plan, plan and plan again  Visit large classes taught by successful teachers  Expect the unexpected  Overall tools

4 First Class: Make a LC small  Be in the classroom early  Be prepared  Set the mood  Start by asking questions –active learning clarity  Use of syllabus: clarity  Point out accessibility  Request that students sit in the same location throughout the year  Walk around: use of remote mouse  Welcome questions / encourage them  Refer to questions asked individually outside class  First class should be an example of your teaching style Lecturing shouldn’t be your primary mode of instruction

5 Dr. Jeanette Norden, 2011

6 Lecturing anonymity  Lecturing: reinforces anonymity in large classes (Michaelsen 2002)  May not accommodate the range of students’ learning (Mbuva 2003)  Students have different: Cultural backgroundsLearning styles PersonalitiesAbilities Students

7 Anonymity Between professor and students Between students (McKeachie 1999) Less engagement in the learning process Students feel less responsible (Cooper and Robinson 2000) Detrimental to promoting critical thinking and student learning Students disengage themselves (Cooper and Robinson 2000)

8 Active Learning (MacGregor et al. 2000)  As a way to have meaningful engagement  To enhance their learning  Increases long-term learning  Promote the formation of a student (learning) community (Yazedjian and Boyle 2008) Active Passive

9 Promoting Active Learning Asking questions Small group discussions Brainstorming Debates Write-pair-share activities Life experiences: projects

10 Active Learning (Christopher 2003) have greater retention achieve greater understanding develop critical thinking develop application skills Students will:

11 Active Learning  Students have shown better:  critical-thinking abilities  conceptual understanding  attendance  confidence  level of achievement (Burrowes 2003; Railsback 2002)

12 Active Learning in a LC  Helps the instructor to get to know students  The instructor needs to create spaces in the classroom for specific activities  Make sure activities support course content rather than distract from it (McKeachie 1999)  Goals, objectives and structure for each activity must be clearly explained (McClanahan 2002)  Explain how to form groups, provide discussion topics, designate length of time (Burrowes 2003)  Meaningful learning activities and reflections

13 Shortcomings of Active Learning  More work for the instructor  Preparation: planning, creating, organizing  Physical space constraints  Disruption of class  Noise level (Cooper, MacGregor et al. 2000)  Instructor can’t cover all the groups, all the time  Feedback is limited  Solutions?

14 Solutions? Students get used to the activities Form permanent groups Have work prepared before class Give time for students to get used to the change of pace

15 How to make a Large classes more personal?  Learn some students names  Ask students to help with certain activities/demonstrations  Keep and eye on students’ progress  Praise when improvements occur  Make appointments when problems are detected  Use of MLS  Share personal experiences  Have a box for suggestions  Establish policies that focus on common courtesy to avoid disruptions: syllabus  Use of entrance and exit ‘tickets’  Sticky notes for draws and participation and for group creation

16 Make your class unique  Use music  Bring cartoons with relevant connection to the class’ content  Ask students to bring pertinent information to class to discuss  Present the information using varied approaches: pictures, newspaper articles, you tube  Student focus vs. content focus  Encourage questions

17 Innovation  Don’t be afraid of innovation  Challenge your students  Create projects that inspire their creativity  Videos, blogs, web pages, digital stories, postcard projects, etc.  Create your own ‘class magazine’  Class blog /learning blog in MLS

18 The Postcard Project  100 words or less  Images  Guidelines  Rubrics If you would like the material, please, contact me.

19 Sample of Postcard Project: Final Version

20 Sample of Final Version 4

21 Exhibit

22 Use of Technology  MLS  Clickers  PPP  Net  Videos, commercials, etc.  Ask them to post questions on the discussion board  Students work, and may be limited on time to visit you during office hours: be flexible  Create opportunities for students to interact online (Greyling and Wentzel 2007) Netizens  Online medium: liberating (Weller 2002)  Cell phone use for feedback (Kinsella 2009)

23 Exams (Huerta 2007)  Clearly explain expectations of material to be covered  Model good answers How to prepare:  Divide class in groups  Assign chapters or topics  Make them create a study guide for their section  Study guide is sent electronically to the instructor  Instructor or TA compiles the information  Groups are graded on their study guide  Sharing of information: good study notes  Students perform better in an active-learning class

24 Remember!

25 Thank you!

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