WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM- ACTIVITY #1D
ANALYSING THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF GOOD EDUCATION
On the first day of classes students usually follow a procedure where they show up in class, receive a course syllabus and hear an explanation about course policies, assignments and procedures. From then on they simply come to class, listen to a lecture and leave with a ream of lecture notes. They expect the professor to tell them everything they need to know to complete the course. Students are rarely asked to reflect upon the nature of good learning and their roles in the process. Students are even less frequently asked to make suggestions about class procedures or alternative approaches which might help them learn more effectively.
Imagine the surprise students receive when after three or four classes they are asked to review and write an analysis of the Seven Principles Of Good Education and think of ways to apply the principles in their class. Consider the positive impact created when their ideas are actually adopted. This exercise sends a clear message to students that you want them involved in their education and not just acting as passive recipients of information.
Courses which use collaborative learning and interactive techniques rely heavily on student participation in groups, as part of whole class discussions, and student demonstrations of their work. Students need to be convinced that this approach is beneficial and helpful to their learning. By using the Seven Principles student attention can be focused upon the need for active and collaborative learning as well as ideas such as time on task needed to succeed in the course and the benefit of an interactive relationship between professor and student. The purpose of using the Wingspread Journal article is to present the material from the perspective of an "outside" expert. Having students analyze the principles and relate them to their own experiences and the class helps them internalize the concepts which will lead to their success in the class.
Finally, if a professor is using collaborative learning techniques then it becomes important to model the process of participation and sharing the power associated with organizing and running a course. This can be accomplished by discussing suggestions made by students and encouraging the class to help decide which suggestions are appropriate for use during the class. For professors who do not use collaborative learning techniques this exercise is also helpful since the 7 principles are inclusive of many concepts necessary for good education in addition to interactive learning modes.
1. To highlight important factors which lead to a good learning environment and student success.
2. To involve students in evaluating the components of good education.
3. To include students in structuring course procedures through their suggestions on how to apply the 7 principles to their classes.
4. The assignment foscues the students attention on the value of certain class procedures and activities such as collaborative and active learning techniques.
5. The professor may use this article to emphasize the need for sufficient time on task to insure student success in the course.
6. The information about success strategies when presented from the perspective of an expert may have an additional impact upon the students attitude about learning.
7. This exercise communicates the professors values and approaches to providing the best educational experience possible.
8. When this assignment is given after the completion of 3 or 4 classes it gives the students an opportunity to compare what is happening in class with the 7 principles, thus reinforcing the appropriate nature of the instructional procedure. This is especially helpful when collaborative learning the paradigm used.
9. Students have an opportunity to write to the professor to express concerns they have or make suggestions about particular class procedures which they might not feel comfortable doing verbally.
1. Individual items within the 7 principles may be analyzed more extensively in order to help students to understand why certain class procedures are used.
2. Students may be asked to relate the 7 principles to their real life situations in order to help them see how they apply outside of a class environment.
3. In a similar vein, students may be asked to relate the 7 principles to course content and then course content to real life situations. For older students this internalizing effect of their education is especially important.
4. This activity may be used as a graded writing assignment in English, education, or social science classes etc.
Implication/applications for Interactive learning opportunities:
1. Think-pair-share can be used to involve pairs of students in analyzing the 7 principles. Students write out their assessment of the 7 principles, share their observations with a partner and then report their results to the whole class.
2. Working in groups of 3-4 students are asked to prioritize the list according to which items they feel have the strongest impact on learning. Other criteria can be used, such as which items are most likely to be accepted by students or which items are most feasible.
3. Group brainstorming techniques can be introduced to identify additional ideas which promote good education, followed by a presentation of these ideas to the whole class.
4. Working in pairs or larger groups students develop ways in which the 7 principles can be applied in class.
5. Working collaboratively students identify how the 7 principles may be applied in their everyday lives including employment, home, and social environments.
ALGEBRA WRITING ASSIGNMENT
I WOULD LIKE YOU TO ANALYSE THE ATTACHED LIST OF PRINCIPLES SUGGESTED FOR GOOD UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION. IN PARTICULAR PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND ADD ANY ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS OR COMMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO.
-HOW DO THESE PRINCIPLES APPLY TO ALGEBRA?
-CAN YOU THINK OF ACTIVITIES THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL IN OUR CLASS WHICH WOULD FACILITATE THE PRINCIPLES?
-DOES THE IDEA OF WORKING WITH OTHER PEOPLE CONCERN YOU?
-PLEASE ADD ANY ADDITONAL COMMENTS YOU FEEL ARE APPROPRIATE TO THIS TOPIC OR FOR RUNNING THE CLASS.
PLEASE SUBMIT AS A MINIMUM A ONE PAGE TYPED ANALYSIS. ALSO IT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO ME IF YOU ADDRESSED EACH OF THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES, IN WHAT EVER ORDER YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH. I AM VERY INTERESTED IN HEARING YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE SINCE MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING AND EDUCATION, IF NOT LIFE, IS EMBODIED IN THESE IDEAS. IT WILL BE ESPECIALLY HELPFUL TO ME TO GET YOUR INPUT, SUGGESTIONS, AND HEAR YOUR CONCERNS AT THIS EARLY STAGE OF THE SEMESTER. YOU YOU MAY WRITE WHAT EVER YOU THINK. I AM NEVER OFFENDED BY CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISM OR OBSERVATIONS.
SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD PRACTICE IN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
by Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamson
From the Wingspread Journal-- special edition
Following is a brief summary of the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education as compiled in a study supported by the American Association of Higher education, the Education Commission of States, and The Johnson Foundation.
1. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES STUDENT FACULTY CONTACT
Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.
2. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES COOPERATION AMONG STUDENTS
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding.
3. GOOD PRACTICE ENCOURAGES ACTIVE LEARNING
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.
4. GOOD PRACTICE GIVES PROMPT FEEDBACK
Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. In getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.
5. GOOD PRACTICE EMPHASIZES TIME ON TASK
Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professional alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty and administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis for high performance for all.
6. GOOD PRACTICE COMMUNICATES HIGH EXPECTATIONS
Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts.
7. GOOD PRACTICE RESPECTS DIVERSE TALENTS AND WAYS OF LEARNING
There are many roads to learning. people bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well in theory. Students need to opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learning in new ways that do not come so easily.
I think the article on the Seven principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education are concepts all schools should adopt, whether colleges, high schools or elementary schools. I have found for myself that communicating with instructors who make themselves accessible gives me a morale boost, as they have worked with me when I have had personal problems which interfered with my class work. Having the lines of communication open open gives my instructors the reasons why I am absent from class or why I did not do as well on an exam as I should have. Instructors I have had have been very understanding and helpful. This makes it so I do not feel as guilty and gives me encouragement to achieve more because they have been understanding. I do not constantly have things happen, but with raising three children on my own, from time to time something does arise which I have no control over, and they still take priority over my own studies.
When it comes to team effort I agree. I personally do not like to feel I am competing for top grades with other students. I do find working with others gives me a better feeling about myself and those around me. I like to hear others' ideas and thoughts. Sometimes it has changed my own view of the situation. I have to agree also with the statement that students do not learn much from listening to lectures and taking notes. Working in groups as we have been doing in this class, helps to relax the atmosphere and reduce anxiety. Having someone to work with on a problem helps both of us to understand it. Then sometimes we can say "ah, we aren't so dumb!". It helps in algebra to do the problems on the board, and also to do the worksheets in class. Also to be able to say "Well this is how I was taught to do this." and then to learn there is a way to do the problem that is easier.
I think in your class you are already bringing out the seven items. So far I have not felt the anxiety I usually feel in math class, making it easier for me to learn. The idea of working together with other people does not really concern me unless I am working with a student who really just does not care or if the person gives the sigh of superiority when I do not understand something. Otherwise I have no complaint.
In a symphony orchestra, there is a large group of people and a conductor who leads many different kinds of people, playing a wide variety of musical instruments. There are the strings, brass, woodwind and percussion sections needed to present the beautiful sound of music. Its a blending of individuality by homogeneous elements. Like a great conductor, a teacher is one who leads or shows the right way for his/her students in their learning and understanding new material. Teachers ask for feedback from their students, so that he/she may be able to be assisted in their learning process. Not everyone is in tune with each other all the time, while they are learning something new. It takes a good teacher to help motivate and build one's own expectations.
Students are all different, no two are the same; each one has his/her own past experiences in learning, some were good, some were not. It's nice having a teacher walk into the classroom with a smile on their face. It makes everyone feel comfortable, instead of feeling as though they are about to be blindfolded and placed in front of a firing squad, to face the task of algebra. It's not just a learning experience, it's an improvement towards our future goals. I like working in groups, learning different ways of doing math. I have never been taught math in this manner before. Some ideas from the other students have helped me get a better grasp on algebra. I look forward to the rest of the semester.
The Seven principles are all very, very important. Without one of these you don't have the other. By this, I mean that they all connect and work together. I strongly believe that knowing your teacher well and feeling comfortable around them makes your ability to learn and ask questions a lot easier. In algebra, cooperation among students as a group is definitely, without a doubt, more useful. I found out my first week that we all have the same difficulties and fears about the course. So by working together as a group and not on our own, it helps you to solve the problems better rather than struggling by yourself. As far as feedback I always think it is really important to hear other people's evaluations so that you know what other people are getting out of what you are saying. When starting school, and changing your daily lifestyles, time management is the most important thing. You need to really sit down and plan time for homework and studying and limiting yourself because it is crucial that you stay up to date with your class and focus on what you are learning. You will most likely need to make some sacrifices, like stop watching T.V. at night or stop going out so much. I think it is definitely worth it.
My very first thought of taking algebra scared me out of my wits. I actually enjoyed Basic Math, partly because of the professor, and partly because of my classmates. Although we did not work in groups, and I thought this was a strange way to teach, I now understand and like this approach. All of these seven principles are offered at this college. The help is there for any student, they need only to ask for it. Student-faculty contact is important, but a student should feel somewhat comfortable with the teacher. I had a sour experience with my English Comp. I teacher, therefore I was leery of Comp. II. Feedback is great, whether it be praise or a little criticism, it makes a person try harder. To expect more doesn't mean you will always get it. To some people who expect more means, do it or else. This could lead to a stressful time for them. These principles apply to algebra because math is cumulative and practice makes perfect. Working in groups does not concern me other that the fact that some groups get a little loud and off track sometimes, but you are getting everyone under control quite nicely.
FACULTY RESPONSE VIA THE INTERNET
From Brenda Dawe <email@example.com>
I tell my students from day one that I am their "guide", and only as strong as the weakest of them. I make myself accessible, approachable, and appreciable to and of each. This is not to say I am gullible nor will I tolerate lies or disruptive behavior.
Partners are assigned from the first but changed often. This gives them opportunity to know each others strengths and weakness without being locked into a "twos" with someone they don't /can't work with. (I tell them they are "one" only for class purposes and as adults can muster tolerance and control for a few short weeks.)
Principle #3: Active Learning, is handled by the various subject materials I incorporate into the course: Modeling the book examples, video tape with work books, practice lessons, weekly journal entries, one-on-one and group question/responses, play acting, video taping, and weekly quizzes that are pass or fail graded. In a class limited to 15 students, I have time to address each one every session.
Prompt feedback is done in this one-on-one time enabling me to correct them on the spot. Each student is different in their acceptance of correction so I use various methods in handling them. It is just something I have to be alert to and generally trial and error it. Mostly, I keep a sense of humor and smile a lot. I at times ask them (in practice) to evaluate each other but critiques must include 2 positive to each negative.
#5: Time on task? That's the hardest. I share the college philosophy of two hours out of class for each credit hour of subject, but due to the nature of my courses (American Sign Language) they tend to take more hours than that to get good at signing. I, myself, am best at "Do what I say...not as I do!"
I Always convey to each new group that I will give them three times more than they can consume. Like a good smorgasbord restaurant, I want them to get full and want to come visit again and again. Many will only take the salad bar but over the years I have had exceptional students set up their own restaurants. This is most gratifying!
#7: Respect diverse talents? I'm a networker by heart and trade. I have the students interview each person they work with and include it in their journals. The talents and professions represented in the group is always surprising and rewarding. Each has some little or major thing to add and are encouraged by the fact that others are interested in that skill or experience.
If I could add one more thought or principle to the seven given, I would say that it's also important to recognize the identity of the "group". Just as you can take the same orchestra's instruments and create a rock, jazz, blues, or classical concert, you change the makeup of your group and the way you approach (teach-guide) them has to change also.