Class 1: Learning // Align outcomes and activites

11 Sep

…and making room for what we all create in the classroom together.

At 90 minutes into the class session, Cheryl (my co-teacher this term) and I had talked from the front of the room for a total of something like 10 minutes; we talked as we roamed the room with students doing scaffolded and open to discovery small group work.

At 120 minutes into the class, they saw the syllabus for the first time.

At 180 minutes into the class, we’d made our points about (1) doing at the start of a class what you want to have students and teachers doing for the rest of the class and (2) having students experience why, how and that they are in the class as learners before turning to a syllabus.


Learning – a chemical process in the brain in which new information is integrated into a person’s past experiences.  Learning is more than just collecting facts; this knowledge needs to be applied in innovative and new ways.

Learning is not a linear process
Independent learning
Interactive between self and others – environmental and social

Teaching and Learning are two sides of the same coin.
Learning is an active process for both teacher and learner.

Learning is a process whereby we acquire, organize, interpret, critically apply and integrate information, knowledge and skills.

What’s below is my synthesis of course calendar record of student learning outcomes with pre-class agenda notes and post-class annotations that help me bring the pieces together.  What’s not here are the critical reflection pieces.  In setting up a research record and journal for this course, I’m realizing that (1) Align Outcomes and Activities: these are process notes, (2) Hear Feedback: these are first round personal critical reflection that move into a next bit of critical reflection after reading student formative feedback, and (3) Listen Openly: these are the digging deeper reflections that emerge in talking with my co-teacher and colleagues from week to week where I am likely to bring my own back channel conversation – based on thinking through Brookfield’s four lenses – into focus.

Learning Outcomes with annotations from class activities in bold
At the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Engage – through active reading and multiple discussion opportunities – recent scholarship on learning as a foundational concept both teachers and students in higher education must understand.  Jigsaw reading – each student assigned one article from list below along with an Active Reading Assignment re ways of engaged annotating.  With last minute adds/drops, we had copies of each article that a student could skim on the spot and groups used strategies for incorporating “the fresh perspective” from having one person in their group who’d just now read the piece.  “Jigsaw Tasks & Questions” below.
  • Develop an understanding of learning – through explanation and exchange of ideas – that will enable each participant to convey individual ideas/understandings about learning to an audience of disciplinary peers, cross-disciplinary colleagues, and teaching mentors/supervisors.  See some of this via photos of white board “key points” notes scribed during parts 1 & 3 of jigsaw.  Class 1 Photosposted to Flickr set on Teaching Quotes.
  • Retrieve from classroom interactions factors that highlight the importance of the first-day in setting a “culture of learning” tone for a course.  We linked the jigsaw to a discussion of two videos – noted below, and stored on my YouTube IleneDawn032 channel as Class 1 playlist.
  • Continue building a learning community. Sociometry questions – on kin, on home, on language learning, on confidence with co-teachers following up with 3×3 presentations on learning, both to contribute to the day’s discussion (but not set the tone for it) and to model the format they’ll use in Class 3.
  • Begin interacting with 8101 participants as part of your Personal Learning Network.  We handed out the course syllabus + calendar during the last hour of (in a three hour) class, and we didn’t talk about it until they’d been working with it for 20 minutes.  Whole class generated a list of 10 things they wanted/needed/expected to learn in reading the syllabus, then we assigned items to each small group, which then investigated and reported back with information, synthesis and questions to us.  And then the CAT (classroom assessment technique) of the day: What one thing excites you about this course?  What one things seems a barrier to your learning in this course?  What are the things that your co-teachers and/or classmates can do to help you in moving beyond this barrier?

We closed the class with a pre-course confidence survey (a version of the program’s survey updated for the pilot course.  Rather extensively updated as I wanted to make sure the prompts asked about only one item at a time, didn’t over-explain and contained the most appropriate verb for the question being asked.

Reading to Complete reading/annotation assignment as set out in Class 1 email before meeting with discussion partner(s):
* Stephen Brookfield – “Adult Cognition as a Dimension of Lifelong Learning”
* Frank Coffield – first section of “Just Suppose Teaching and Learning Became the First Priority”
* Patrick Troup – “Understanding Student Development Theories as Multicultural Teaching & Learning Resources”
* James Zull – “Key Aspects of How the Brain Learns”

Jigsaw Tasks and Questions
At same article tables: QUESTIONS – What’s key here?  What are 3-5 main points the author makes about learning in general?  What 3-5 points would you add about adult learning specifically?  List these on the white board by your table.  If someone has a computer at hand, add to the GoogleDoc that I’ve made public at ida8101.

Mix to blend articles – number off: DIVERGENT THINKING TASK – By sharing articles build an understanding of learning that synthesizes the four articles.  As time permits, note what and how your own definition of “learning” has become clearer, different in scope or depth or content.

Return to same article tables:  CONVERGING IDEAS VIA DISCUSSION – Given the discussion you’ve just completed, how would you describe / define learning?  Start with your author and build from there.  Also, note any divergences / dissents in the definition building process.  Use the white board to track your discussion.  And add to the GoogleDoc if you’ve got someone who’s willing to type.

Video Sparks for Furthering Discussion
1.  To analyze some fairly persistent ideas about learning and higher education via Guido Sarducci “Five Minute University,” which I first saw live while in college in late 1970s
* Question while watching – these views of / practices in teaching still persisting?
* Question for small groups after watching – What / Where is “a Culture of Learning” in our academic surrounding? in pubic life?  Where and
When this is absent, what’s the impact on ideas about and practices of learning?  on what sorts of learning (modes and disciplines) are valued?

2. With this question in mind, we set up how Michael Wesch and students in his class listened to students
* Question while watching – listen to students – the ones here, but also the ones they were/are, the classmates from their schooling/educational
past, the students they know now as teachers/future teachers via “Vision of Students Today
* Question for small groups after watching – Where does that leave you?  As learners? As members of communities? As future faculty?
* Keep talking about this during break – only now talk with folks who weren’t in your small group

Key Points scribed by groups during  Jigsaw with four articles on learning – images at   Class 1 Photos on Flickr. A note on setting up the groups – the grouping combined intentional and random: given students clustered into three disciplinary groupings (college of education, natural sciences, social sciences) and clustered nearly evenly by where they’d completed undergraduate education (somewhere in US, somewhere outside US) we set up four groups with students from each of the five clusters.

* James Zull
Learning – a chemical process in the brain in which new information is integrated into a person’s past experiences.  Learning is more than just collecting facts; this knowledge needs to be applied in innovative and new ways.

* Patrick Troup
Diversity of students (background, culture, race)
Perception
Self <–> Others
Learning is not a linear process; independent learning
Interactive between self and others – environmental and social

* Frank Coffield
Definition of Knowledge: 2 metaphors – acquisition vs participation
Tailoring the basic 10 Principles to your own learning and teaching environment
Teaching and Learning are two sides of the same coin.
Learning is an active process for both teacher and learner.

* Stephen Brookfield
Learning is a process whereby we acquire, organize, interpret, critically apply and integrate information, knowledge and skills.

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