Arna G Smith

Arna G Smith

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I use the concept of mini-lessons in my English Composition course.  Each class session is started with a writing prompt.  The goal here is to get them in the habit of using and becoming comfortable with the writing process:  list, clustering, outline, freewriting, outlining, drafting, revising, etc.  It gives them many opportunities to self-evaluate along the way as well.  We find out how they feel about criticism as well.  Also, we conduct peer reviews.  These activities combine to accelerate their growth as writers. The mini-lessons work because the students transition through to higher levels of writing. The writing process has… >>>

I don't think that learning styles are myths.  They are quite effective, especially when integrated with an understanding of multiple intelligences.  I like learning about ideas, the history of ideas, and why people believe what they do.  These "likes" have contributed to my being a life long learner and explain why I am successful in some areas.  I had to employ an understanding of personal learning styles to help me achieve in areas in which I did not do well.  You can blend learning styles and multiple intelligences because the strengths/weakness of one is offset by the other.  Applying an… >>>

I think that this is where the challenge exists for many teachers, especially those of us who have transitioned from a corporate arena.  Teaching in a career college takes some getting used to as well.  Instructors have to take into consideration that in the career college environment, goals and final results are more focused on gainful employment. To be effective, therefore, an action plan has to go beyond traditional lesson planning. 


I teach the same course in the morning and at night.  Students come to class directly from work to both courses.  I find that giving students choices in activities helps keep them focused as well as motivated.  In a writing assignment, for example, I might provide the topic, but they get to decide if they want to support/refute it or compare/contrast it.

I tend to use a lot of repetition in the presentation of the material presented in the courses I teach.  To prevent my students from becoming bored from grappling material the same way day in and day out, I try to provide them with the opportunity to select topics and activities within the scope of the assignment that interests them. In this way, students get to explore and express their talents and interests.  The result is a more self-motivated student.

What have been your experiences in regards to this topic?

The challenge is to put good ieas into practice because in the educational environment good ideas complete with each other, even conflicting with existing proedures at times.  when I studies this topic, the conflict for me was bewteen learning styles and multiple intelligences.  Has anybody else experienced this conflict?  Has anybody used both models at the same time?Open to suggestions.

I accomplish the encouragement of active learning into my courses by exploring and experimenting with flexible seatng arrangements and rotating group members.  In these sitautions, my role as the instructor is more like a facilitator.  In order to improve successful interaction, I keep moving, monitorng, and interacting students, all the while applying the principles of group dynamics, which might sometimes even include breaking ties and bottlenecks.  In other words, I go with the flow!  Keep things flowing!  These types of dynamics are very helpful in a career college environment.  There is much opportunity for using active learning techniques in the… >>>

Discussion Comment

Having the ability of varing seating arrangements is a good approach to encouraging interaction.  I also pair or group students up differently  from time to some.  It is interesting to observe how the level of their participation and results of their learning varies are the changes are institutued.



I can certainly identify with the point you have made here, Jianxun.  When an instructor transitions into teaching from a corporate background, it is useful to have a presentation like this course to expose you to strategies like the ones discussed.  This was a good refresher.  It was never my experience that instructors didn't know the content.  They just had to become student centered and understand the students' perspective.


Thanks for sharing.

I plan to incorporate the new presentations mentioned in the training as well as conduct an apps search in my course just after the mid-tems.  I feel that this will make the studentsmore comfortable with the tablets.



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