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LAE 6389 Practice Teaching Literature

Class 6: Teaching Methods, cont.

Reading Assignment:

    Showalter chapter 8
    McKeachie, chaps. 15-18
    Post #5

Class Objectives:

    Discuss Active Learning, Writing assignments, problem-based learning, and technology.
    Student Presentations: Teaching Resource: Jessica Trant, Jeff Spicer
    Student Presentations: Syllabus Check:Kelly Lavis
    Assignment: Hand in and discuss Teaching Observation

Notes and Discussion Questions:

Chapter 15 - High and Low Stakes writing, by Peter Elbow and Mary Dean Sorcinelli

What other ideas can you think of for using low stakes writing in literature classrooms? What other ideas can you think of for using high stakes writing in literature classrooms?

Evaluate the recommendations for preventing plagiarism on p. 210. What do you think causes a student to plagiarize?

Chapter 16 Active Learning -- Cooperation, Collaboration, and Peer Learning

What are some of the more important aspects of group work as described by McKeachie? (I.e. why would you do it? what would you be doing? how would you do it?)

What concerns does this approach to teaching literature raise?

Evaluate the methods described for potential use in the literature classroom:

  • Peer tutoring
  • Learning cell
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Syndicate
  • Jig saw

    Chapter 17 Problem Based Learning

    How might you employ a case study method or problem-based-learning in a literature classroom? Consider, for example, library or research problems.

    Chapter 18 Technology and Teaching

    How many of you use technology in the classroom? What has your experience taught you about the effectiveness of the methods used?

    How might the descriptions in this chapter improve or help your use of technology in the classroom?

    Does the chapter create an interest in technological teaching methods that you might want to try?

    Showalter: Teaching Teachers (Chapter 8)

    In many ways, this chapter is about our class, and we might use it to reflect on what we are doing here and what we can do with the rest of the semester. What ideas does this chapter suggest for your training as a literature teacher?

    Evaluate the three developmental stages of new teachers mentioned on p. 113. How do these categories sound to you? Are they helpful for understanding your own experience?

    Choose any one of the case studies from Showalter's seminar (pp. 117-124) and analyze it. Try to answer the questions she asks at the end of that subsection.


    Active learning and discussion

    Observation of Teaching The objective of this assignment is to get you to see undergraduate teaching in action, and so allow you to observe teaching style, method, classroom organization, etc.

    In order for this to be effective, it requires preplanning:

  • Ask a professor who is teaching undergraduate literature if he or she would be willing to have you observe and select a date.
  • Obtain the syllabus and if possible do the reading for the day.
  • Create a list of questions you would like to answer by observing the class. Eg. how will the instructor decide what parts of the text on which to focus the class? Will he or she lecture? What methods of instruction will the lecture incorporate? How will the students respond? Etc.
  • Take notes during class to remember your observations and so that you can ask questions of the instructor afterward.
  • Write a narrative of the class observation with as much detail as you can.

  • Speak to the instructor afterward to discuss any questions that were raised for you. When appropriate, share with the instructor your observations.
  • Reflect on the experience and what you have learned about teaching from it. Write up this reflection as a postscript to the teaching narrative.
  • Bring narrative and reflection to class and share in small groups.

    We will discuss your observations and reflections in class.

    Websites to visit and discuss:

    Evaluating Web Sites hosted by the Cornell University Library

    Resources on Academic Integrity at the University of Michigan library

    Visible Knowledge Project: a site on questioning the role of technology in teaching


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