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Archive for April, 2010

Because I have been teaching this semester, I have been blogging with my students. My latest post, though, is something I would like to have here in this blog, to return to for more thought:

http://writingintheory.blogspot.com/2010/04/future-of-composition.html

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That is the realization I had today. I have just had a great discussion with a colleague about “real assessment” and new ideas blossomed for us as we discussed changing up a brief student survey that we do with CBL classes. We are going to ask students more directly about their relationship with the community partner site, instead of just asking them to “rate” the partner site. It seems like a simple change, but it is a profound difference which will move us a step forward on our journey toward transformational partnerships.

Then I read this interview in Inside Higher Ed. I was amazed by the sophistication of the student’s understanding, but I really shouldn’t have been so amazed. I know the wisdom is out there; I struggle with how to get at it. And Lucretia Witte explains it so simply:

More than anything, I would encourage professors to involve students in their own learning experience. Ask your students to take a pre-course survey one week before class starts. How do they learn best? What aspect of the course topic interests them most? What kind of assignments do they like? Is there any skill or aspect of the course that they feel apprehensive about? Best case, this allows professors to set the bar high for personal investment in the course, allows them to tailor the course to the students’ interests, sends a message that the professor genuinely cares about the students’ experience, and takes the first step in establishing that invaluable dialogue.

We will all be lucky if Ms. Witte joins us as a colleague in education, which she says she intends to do.  In the mean time, I am grateful for this insight, and for the encouragement from a student to keep heading down the road toward greater student engagement in learning.

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