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EDCI 943: Observation #1- Fall 2017

Principles of College Teaching -EDCI 943

Observation #1 – Fall 2017

Here you and your partner can post your interview questions and the observed instructor’s responses to these questions. Please refrain from listing the instructor’s name in your post. We will discuss your observation and interview experiences during class.

3 thoughts on “EDCI 943: Observation #1- Fall 2017
  1. Observation of class:

    Instructor began course with uplifting music. Later during the interview, we learned the music was specifically chosen to correlate with the topic of the lecture.

    During the lecture, instructor allowed students to interact by asking questions about lecture content.

    Instructor constantly walked around front of room; never positioned behind computer.

    The lecture PPT was almost strictly pictures. Rarely was text used. Instructor also used pointer to further instruct.

    Very few students had laptops or technology out. Students seemed very engaged.

    Post observation interview:

    Instructor has been teaching over 40 years. This course has been taught over several years in a variety of ways throughout the various institutions he has taught at, so he is very familiar with the course material.

    His course plan is to engage the students with visuals and speak on those visuals. He also gives “quizzes on the go” which acts like a pop quiz that students obtain at the start of class and complete throughout the lecture. This helps students feel engaged and gain extra points.

    Instructor feels that not all students are fully prepared for college, so he tries to assist the students in every way possible throughout the semester. He’ll bold text on an exam for clues, talk with students if they are struggling and is constantly refreshing his lectures with up-to-date information.

    Some advice to future instructors is to always change content and keep the lectures fresh. His office was floor to ceiling non fiction books about varying topics, including Disney books. He is always learning about new concepts, new methods of teaching and feels that as long as you are an instructor, you should still be learning. He also mentioned that the challenges with being an instructor will never stop. There is always a new class of students to teach.

  2. Jordann Brandner, TJ Wukitsch, Kim Newberry

    General Notes During Class – Mike Wesch
    · Started class with a music video and challenged students to figure out how it is related to the material today, but then also explained how it was related to the concepts they’d be learning today
    · Knows student’s names, also already sort of knew which students were struggling with the material and checked in with these students during class
    · Some slides with only photos/pictures, didn’t use text unless he had to
    · Tells stories to teach, seemed to give more meaning to the material being presented
    · Foreshadows within class
    · Posts slides after the lecture has been given, doesn’t reinforce idea of memorization and keeps spirit of mystery “what will I learn today”
    · Makes connections with something they’re familiar with to explain difficult concepts, including cultural references, movies, actors, and own personal life
    · Asks students to explain and define things, not afraid to have a moment of silence or a pause to encourage thinking
    · Checks in on students to see if they get it
    · Calls attention to previous lessons, constantly related current material with previously covered material to highlight the relationships and influences between material
    · Really knows how to create powerpoints – e.g., text on top of video, seamless piecing together of video clips
    · Allows students to ask personal questions
    · Gives questions for practice for exams and holds review sessions
    · Invites students to go running with him
    Kept a conversational tone, which encouraged discussion and lessened the power dynamic
    Students showed constant engagement – e.g., taking notes, reacting to videos, asking and answering questions. Rarely distracted.
    Sometimes used the phrase “does this make sense” – should be careful about this, specific questions are better than a general question like this, but this wasn’t used too often
    Had a very open posture and was engaging to the students.
    When should you ask questions and what if the students don’t answer?
    Gave example of how the first day he had people stand up and do a human scatterplot, where students move to different locations based on their answers to the questions. Encourages diversity and discussion, makes the space more personal. But after that class, the students still weren’t too engaged and didn’t feel comfortable asking/answering questions. That is when he realized that students can only hang on to 4 or 5 big ideas and that he needed to make an environment that was conducive to making mistakes. Present the ideas as a challenge to the students. This worked better.

    · Class size is just big enough to make people shy, personal stuff
    o Find the wisdom in what someone said, regardless of how mundane the comment was, nurture a sense of if they’re saying something, there is a reason and you need to seek the bigger reason, treat them as if it was a brilliant thought to make it a deeper question

    How can you correct students without making them feel uncomfortable or discouraging them from asking future questions?
    Hope that other students step in. If not, anticipate these kinds of things and try to prepare ahead of time. Give personal examples of how language is constantly changing and how these ideas are difficult to understand, and show that even you had to be corrected at one point. Also, try breaking the tension with humor. Frame questions in a positive light and as difficult to figure out and that mistakes are ok to make.

    · Hope other students step in
    · Anticipate and prepare ahead of time
    o Complex thing, words are constantly changing, language is important, and its okay to make a mistake, I’ll still correct you, but its fine
    · Break tension and tell something funny with the lesson embedded

    How can you confront adversarial students?
    Try to create allies out of adversaries. See their contributions as gifts and opportunities. Always show them respect but challenge their ideas. Do not let ignorant or incorrect ideas stand but handle it tactfully and frame it as a good opportunity for further discussion. If necessary, refer back to the strategies for “correcting” students. Show that the professor is not infallible and that we all make mistakes. In severe situations, speak with the student outside of class and come to an agreement or have them unenroll.

    · Create allies, see their contributions as gifts/opportunities
    o Respect them but still challenging their ideas
    o Teaches students to understand other perspectives and how to address them in a good way
    · If it is a permanent problem, talk with them and ask them to unenroll maybe
    · Hope another student will rise up
    · Create an atmosphere where you might make mistakes
    · Stories of own ignorance and how you got past it
    o had to learn it all too, prof. is not infallible

    How did the structure of your class evolve over time?
    Used to focus on the personal journeys of the students, but after having students “figure out” the system, hiding from personal journeys, and not appreciating the content or ideas, he decided to move to a more content-based format. He realized that personal journeys are unavoidable, so it wasn’t necessary to have students explicitly create them. Since moving to a more content-based format, he’s been thinking about increasing the number of students who can enroll, from 50 to 450.

    · Sometimes a personal journey is unavoidable
    · People were undervaluing the content and hiding in faking the personal journey
    · Present mind-blowing ideas and let the journey happen

    How do you think about teaching?
    Student centered teaching. ALways think about what you want your students to get out of it. Teaching is like crafting an initiation ritual. What does it take to become a _____? Build the content of the course around those pieces or ideas and then engage the students in challenges. Does this material need to be memorized or put into practice? Then base the activities and assignments on that. Additionally, treat the readings as information or the “what” and the lecture as inspiration or the “why,” and make sure the students understand the meaning behind what they are learning.

    · How do you want them to think at the end of it?
    o Teach to that, big idea focused
    o Is there a way of being that you’re trying to teach? Teach content with that underlying current
    · 10 cores, 10 challenges to address each core lesson
    o Memorization or practice? Assignments should focus on your goal (usually practice) if application to be the goal, the assignments should have them apply the knowledge to something.

    How did you develop or craft your stage presence?
    Being insanely well prepared is usually a good idea. This helps build confidence. Also, envisioning what the class will be like. He reminds himself that he loves his students and that in the end, it is not about how he performs or what he thinks. It’s about what the students need to learn and whether or not they are learning. It also helps to be enthusiastic about what you are teaching, even if it’s 2 minutes of a 50 minute lecture, and transforming those “have-to’s” into “want-to’s.”

    Building a show they can learn from, not just a lecture; what about stage presence
    · Be well-prepared
    · What’s the 2 minute version?
    · Remind yourself to love your students
    o Its not about me, its about the students
    o Allows you to not be self-conscious a little
    · Enthusiasm! 😊
    · Transform “have to’s” to “want to’s”
    o Even if its something small

    How do you incorporate media into the classroom and choose the appropriate video content?
    He watches tons of videos and only uses the very best. He is super strict about the timing of clips, said even 1 sec off could be too long. So he ends up using lots of short pieces. The goal is to always show stuff (videos or powerpoint text) that you are talking about or saying in that moment. He uses youtube and video editing software to piece the clips together, makes everything more seamless. And has the videos play automatically. Using relevant videos is a great way to break up the classroom experience and supplement the lecture content.

    · Only the very best
    · Even 1 second too long is too long, edit the videos, know the stop point
    · Never show something you’re not saying
    · Line-by-line animations
    · Download the video, crop, and insert into the powerpoint, play automatically

    Powerpoints after, not ahead of time
    Storytelling, storytelling, storytelling 😊
    Think of lecture as inspiration, and reading as information

    Pay attention to the students who are the best students, and how they learn
    · Knowing how they learn makes it easier to teach that strategy to other people
    Think of it more like an initiation ritual, a series of trials for the students to experience, practice, and prove themselves to themselves.

  3. How refreshing to find a 40-year veteran who still loves his job and loves to engage his students. We have lots of teachers like that here at K-State. I love this place!

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