Category: Classroom Management

Setting the Table . . . Insights on Andragogy from IWU

There are a lot of resources available for Instructors to draw from to improve their ability to achieve student learning both in and out of the classroom.  At this LINK you will find an excellent resource from Indiana Wesleyan University Faculty Development Blog.  This particular session deals with group work within the classroom and how to organize and manage group work effectively.

In this series on “Setting the Table” from Indiana Wesleyan you will find other presentations which will hopefully inspire you to try something new and see your role in a fresh light.

Related Webinars

Avoiding Dysfunctional Team Project Groups

An effective Team Project Group can be a valuable experience.  Student are enriched by enhancing their teamwork skills and can find the experience rewarding.  However, it seems for every successful team project group, there are as many which are dysfunctional in one way or another.

As harsh as this may sound, if a team project group is dysfunctional YOU as the Instructor may be to blame.

An effective team project group is a learning process which is guided by the Instructor.  The establishment of the group and facilitating their ability to work together toward a goal is an aspect of the learning outcome for the course which is just as significant in many cases as the content being studied.

So, how do you take ownership for avoiding, as much as humanly possible, a dysfunctional project team?

  1.  Make sure you take the time in the first class session to establish the Team Project Charter.  There is a good post on this HERE.  Establishing the Charter is the starting point for a high performance team.
  2. Take responsibility for facilitating the Team by providing a short period within each class period to meet with each team, working on the content AND the dynamics of teamwork.
  3. Employ the tools available for effective teamwork outside of the classroom.  This can be through Canvas (see post HERE in this Faculty Blog that explains how to do that) or through use of Google Docs (see post HERE in this Faculty Blog that explains how to do that) or some other resource.   Your guidance and assistance here can make the difference in practical, pragmatic functioning of the team.

Finally, I encourage you to pray with and for your project teams and encourage them to pray for each other.  Amazing things can happen when we remember to introduce the Holy Spirit into the team dynamic.

 

Mind Maps for Enhanced Student Learning

To my way of thinking, mind maps are probably one of the most effective and least used tools for instruction.  I base this on the fact that most people are visual learners who validate the quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” day in and day out and who speak in terminology that reference a visual perspective, e.g. “I see” meaning “I understand.”

A mind map is a representation of information arranged in a visually stimulating format which sparks creativity and retention.  For instance, if I wanted to start a conversation about Communication, I might begin by framing it with a mind map identifying the basic types of communication.  This has the added benefit of providing structure and organization of thought to the instructional process and allows for the ability to focus on specific satellite groupings individually as well as to think about the links which might exist between different nodes.  An expansion of just one of the satellites begins to spark creativity.  Now I’m beginning to see connections within the subject and how different pieces fit into the overall concept.

The really nice thing about using mind maps in the classroom is their versatility as small group work around a table with 2-4 people, or with the entire class on the whiteboard, or even as an assignment to make sense out of a reading assignment.  Mind maps make a great test preparation tool whether used by an individual or in a group.

The images for the mind maps included in this post come from Mind Mup which is part of the Google App family and easy to install from the Google Web Store from inside Chrome.  It is free and easy to use.    This is software which keeps things organized, easy to print and share.  There are various YouTube tutorials for MindMup and other mind map applications.

Another nice thing about mind maps, however, is that you don’t have to use any software to get the benefit of what this tool has to offer.  You can have a student go to the white board and create a basic mind map of a subject and then have other students add to the mind map or explain the linkages between different satellite groupings.

It is great for note taking, it inspires creativity, is an effective tool for student engagement, fosters collaboration, enhances retention of the subject matter, and is just plain fun.  I strongly encourage you to consider using a mind map in one of your classes soon.  Let me know how it turns out.

Setting the Mood

Walking into an Adult Studies classroom at 6:00pm on one of our campus sites I always try to remember that whatever my day has been like, these students have had just as difficult and tiring a day, or perhaps even moreso.  Knowing that some of the students are likely single parents gives me even more appreciation for the challenges in their lives and their commitment to change the course of their family’s future.  With that being said, one of the most important things I can do in the evening is to get the class off on the right foot.

Don’t let your “grumpy” or your “tired” lead the way or your class will go downhill pretty quickly.  Instead, great the students by name, enter into conversations that are uplifting and edifying, share positive stories from your day (avoid the “poor me” stories).  Once the class has gathered, take time to pray, not as completing a check box, but in genuine petition to help separate the class time from the busyness of the day.

Almost everything can be said from different perspectives.  Think about what you are saying and the perspective you bring, are you negative and critical, or positive and instructive?  Even the worst news can be delivered in a way that edifies if you make the effort.

Most of all remember, you have entered a “Christian” zone where it is appropriate and encouraged to bring Jesus and faith into the discussion.  When done in a way that is non-judgmental and expressive of God’s love, the Holy Spirit can bring a peace into the classroom greater than you can manufacture on your own.

Instructor, YOU are the one who sets the mood!

Reading for Understanding: Motivating your students to read and understand course material!

by Dr. Larry Ruddell, Dean at Houston-Belhaven

Adult students face many challenges during the week apart from your class.  For example: traffic accidents, a relative needing help, a baby-sitter that doesn’t show up, a missed payment, and health problems … among other things. So, sitting in class may be a big accomplishment for an adult student … along with submitting any assignments … which may or may not include actually reading the course assignments!

One of Belhaven’s “Student Objectives” for Adult Learners is that upon graduation, our students will: “Incorporate ongoing learning strategies toward the fulfillment of their life goals.” One “learning strategy” that must be in place front and center is the ability to read and learn from reading.

As faculty, we face barriers in helping students with reading. Students may have a negative attitude towards reading. We are used to receiving “information” easily with the internet, so sitting down with a big book seems daunting. Text books can be dry and may actually be misleading at points or run contrary to the Christian Worldview.

How do we cope with student challenges in this particular area? I would suggest three things: expect, motivate, and explain. Let’s start with expect. You should always expect students to read all of the required course material, no matter how daunting. Our classes are short and it is impossible to cover all of the required information in class. So NEVER lower your expectation that students should complete all assigned reading before class.

Secondly, you need to motivate students to do the reading. The “go to” motivation approach according to the Bible is to appeal to others through love and truth. See Philemon 1:8-9 that reads;

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (English Standard Version) [Bold added]

So, we should appeal to students to do the reading because (as mentioned above), there is not enough time to cover all the course material in class, we want them to become lifelong learners, and it is a course requirement. However, Covenantal motivation is also based on “blessings and curses” or, “rewards and punishments.” So, make sure your grading “rewards” students who do the reading and draw from the reading in papers and other assignments … and holds students accountable who fail to draw from class reading in papers and other assignments.

Finally, explain HOW TO read the required material. This may be the most difficult one for you if you have no training in learning/study skills. Pauk and Owens, in their book entitled How to Study in College, Eleventh Edition, give a crisp answer about what it takes to read more effectively, “To truly improve your reading, you need to prepare properly, navigate confidently, and learn how to strategically vary your pace.” (2014, p. 132) They then goes on to say, “Comprehension is all about connections.” (Pauk & Owens, 2014, p. 132)

Briefly, let’s list some ideas (that you can pass on to students) on how to build those connections!

  • Review assignment requirements BEFORE doing the reading
  • Read for what YOU want to get out of the reading. So try to see how any past experiences or future endeavors might apply to the content
  • Before reading in detail, just look at summaries, vocabulary (make sure you understand), read side bars, read main headings, ask questions. The more you read to answer questions, the better the comprehension and retention
  • Read in detail, spending more time on text that applies to your priorities and/or course assignments. Note that since you have already gone through all the other material, you don’t need to “stop” and change gears and look at that other material. This should improve speed.
  • Conclude the reading by taking notes that apply to completing assignments.

In conclusion, consider taking a few minutes at the end of class to go over next week’s reading and apply 2 or 3 of the motivational and/or practical tips!

References

Pauk, W., & Owens, R. (2014). How to study in college, eighth edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth CENGAGE Learning.

The NEW (and Improved) Blazenet

By now many of you have had to interact with the new Blazenet and I thought I would take a few minutes in this post and give a short tour of the more important, relatively speaking, aspects of Blazenet for Faculty.

First, Blazenet is no longer the repository for Faculty Modules of the curriculum used in either our on-site or online courses.  These modules can now be found in a Faculty Module Library in Canvas.  The student modules are also no longer available on Blazenet and can be found on the Canvas course-site.  This is a big improvement regarding keeping the modules lined up with each other and with the Canvas build-out for the course.  You should automatically enrolled in the Faculty Module Library if you are scheduled to teach a course but if for some reason you don’t have access or can’t find it, contact your Dean.

Second, recording attendance in Blazenet is both the same AND different. Before attendance can be posted the first time the course has to have the gradebook set-up.  There are help videos for this which I will mention later in this post.  Once the grade book is set up, posting attendance is relatively siattendancemple: from the home page, click on “Self-Service” drop down and choose the options which gets you to “Faculty Information.”  From there click on either Class Roster or Grading and select the appropriate course.  Click on the link for Grade book and it should take you to a screen with information like in the picture on the left.  Click on Attendance and the appropriate date to record attendance.  Note that dates only show up as they arrive on the calendar.

Third, you can email one or more students from the same place you mark attendance.  Instead of clicking on Attendance choose the “Send E-Mail to Students” link.  This is helpful for keeping all communication with a student in a tracked repository in case there are any questions that arise later, e.g. grading.

Fourth, this is also where you will come to post your final grades for the course so you can be paid.

Fifth, from the menu select Faculty Homepage and you will find helpful Quick Links and, more importantly, How-To videos under the FAQ section.  Simply click on the appropriate question to discover short tutorials which answer the question.

Sixth, from the menu select Faculty Resources/Adult and Graduate to be taken to a page with a variety of resources designed to assist you.  QuickLinks, FAQs, contact information for the respective Deans, and Forms & Documents which includes the most recent Adult Studies Faculty Handbook September 2016.

If there is more information you would like to see available on Blazenet, be sure to let me know at rupchurch@belhaven.edu.

Strategy for Using Peer Reviews to Improve Student Papers

By Kim Priesmeyer
Full Time Faculty, Belhaven Houston

As an instructor who assigns a lot of writing, I’m always looking for ways to engage students in peer review.  However, just telling students to “peer review each other’s papers” can be unproductive, or even worse, dull.  Typically, students don’t know what to do with those papers, and comments can be uninspiring.

One way to bring energy and effectiveness to the process is something called Round Robin Peer Review (also available on the Faculty Resources tab under “Other Resources).  It’s pretty easy for any instructor to use, and it can be modified for any assignment depending on the requirements.  It keeps students and papers moving, and it gives peer reviewers a specific focus.  Here are the basics:

  1. Pass out the peer review form and have each student write his name at the top where it says “writer’s name.”
  1. Tell students to pass their paper and their form to the right. They should now be holding someone else’s paper and form.
  1. Inform students that they will be given 10 mins. to critique just the first category on the peer review form. Set a timer.
  1. When the timer goes off, students will pass the paper and form to the right. The next peer reviewer will critique only the second category for 10 mins.  And so on…

Ways to modify for your course:

  • Change the categories to peer review
  • Set different time limits for each session
  • Provide critique expectations (for example, I might require a three-sentence critique minimum)

Ways to coach students before the process begins:

  • Model the process with a couple of volunteers
  • Provide examples of “critique” comments that are specific and useful
  • Tell students it’s OK for the peer reviewer and writer to communicate during the process
  • Prepare students for constructive criticism: it’s not about complimenting each other; it’s about improved writing
  • Tell students they’re not required to make suggested changes, but they must at least consider them
  • Give students permission to write on each other’s papers; peer review isn’t always neat and tidy

Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.  You can email me at kpriesmeyer@belhaven.edu

5 Excellent Rubric Making Tools for Teachers – re-post

This is from the original article which can be found HERE

Rubrics are scoring charts used to assess and evaluate a particular learning or teaching activity. As is explained in this guide, rubrics are helpful for both teachers and students: teachers can use them when designing lesson plans and grading assignments; students can use them to make sure they meet the learning expectations and requirements of an assignment or project work. Rubric making should not be a complicated task . . . (read more)

CWV: Practical Applications for the Classroom

by Paul Criss,
Dean of Faculty, Memphis and Desoto

This is a summary of the Webinar by the same title presented by Dr. Criss on May 17, 2016.  You can view the webinar at this link.  There are handouts that can be downloaded from within the webinar.

This webinar is an overview of worldview principles and how to apply them in the adult learner classroom. The presenter is Dr. Paul Criss who possesses sixteen years of experience teaching higher education worldview courses. The presentation begins with an overview of worldview discovery, the Christian Theistic worldview, and criteria for a well-defined personal worldview. Some questions answered in the first half are:

  • How is a worldview like a belly button, a cerebellum, or breathing?
  • What are the essential aspects of a worldview and why is it important?
  • How does an adult learner decide which worldview is best?
  • What is the faculty member’s role in worldview instruction?

The second half of the webinar includes a process to analyze ideas and concepts, as well as practical tools to use in the classroom, such as: CWV Integrated Lesson Plan, Cultural Analysis, Immunization Technique, Reflective Action, KWAT discussion, and Integrative Questioning. The presentation closes with an overview of resources (including discipline specific resources) and websites that have assisted the presenter in the past.

I encourage you to watch the recorded webinar and download the attached documents.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team – from a LinkedIn post

Karl McDonnell, Chief Executive Officer at Strayer, shared this post on Linked In  and I thought you might find it interesting.  I’ve only quoted a short excerpt from the original post.  To read the entire post CLICK HERE.

The three authors behind a new book entitled “Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance” spent time studying this phenomenon and have come up with several solutions. They recently shared five pitfalls of teamwork  with Quartz. You can click over to Quartz for the full post, but I want to highlight solutions to these pitfalls here. Here are five ways to maximize team performance:    Read more . . .

Blessings,