For my final paper in EDUC 206, I have been tasked with reflecting on the past quarter and the work that I have completed in the course. For those of you who don’t know, the EDUC series are classes taught at Lake Washington Technical College that are aimed at developing instructor’s abilities. I took the first part of the course EDUC 201 my first quarter as an instructor here and it was a lifesaver for me in helping me navigate the student population that I would encounter here. EDUC 206 has not been the same eye opener, but nonetheless it has been an important refresher in my instructional career. To help me evaluate those things that I have learned, I want to compare my knowledge before and after in a few areas that we have discussed in the class:
As mentioned in a previous post, over the course of the quarter we have been discussing the idea of multiple intelligences. And while I didn’t know who Howard Gardner was at the beginning of the quarter, I was aware of different learning styles that we encounter in the classroom. What was new to me was how many of these learning styles there were. The class has opened my eyes up to such intelligences as “Musical” and “Naturalist”. And while I may not necessarily be turning my editing classes into full scale musical productions — it is nonetheless important to recognize the varying ways in which my students learn.
One great in-class discussion that we had was on the topic of copyright. To be honest, previously I had used kind of a “no holds barred” approach to incorporating materials into my classroom. In looking at the pre-assessment that I took for the class, I thought that you could copy any chapter from any book as long as I only did one chapter at a time and didn’t try to sell the material. What I have learned is that copyright is not so easy — however, it is not so complicated as well. As I discussed in a recent post about using open materials, our librarians here at the college are well equipped to handle copyright questions. I’ve been thinking about trying to run a whole class using readings culled from these resources. My hesitation for this doesn’t spring from my reluctance to use the technology, but rather the fact that I still struggle to get my students to read the resources that I give them.
What I have learned overall about copyright is that it is a complicated issue, one that make me grateful for trained librarians that are on my side as I confront these issues.
Classroom Assessment Techniques
Another topic that we covered in the class was the Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT). I think I remembered this term from my first time through EDUC 201. CATs are small ways that we can gauge the learning of our students. These may include small surveys that we give our students at the end of class to make sure that they have an understanding of the lesson material covered. While I had learned about this method before, it has not been something that I have really implemented in my classroom, instead relying on more informal assessment techniques. I think one of my hesitations has been that I don’t want to get burdened by the paperwork that comes with the CATs. I would love to find some technological solution that easily gauges my students learning without creating a world of unnecessary paperwork for me. Or maybe I am just taking too easy an approach to this topic — overall I think I am pretty casual in truly trying to gauge the learning of my students. It could be worth it for me to kill a few trees and spend some time reading the feedback from my students
This quarter has been a great opportunity to revisit some of those topics that I need to refocus on as an instructor. Previously, I have treaded lightly in the three areas that I have discussed above, instead getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of my classroom. I think as an instructor, it is easy to get too focused on what is going on in your classroom, considering yourself too busy to really change anything. However, if you take some time to step back and invest in some of these new techniques, you will be repaid as your students will learn better and appreciate the role that you take in their learning.