Reading Roundtable 5B Meeting of April 24, 2008

Chapter 9: Making Learner-Centered Teaching Work

Attending: Bill Yang, , Discussion leader
Barbara Nixon, Recorder
Margery (Marney) Collins
Abby Brooks-Fitzgerald
Virginia DeRoma [Happy Birthday!!]
Stacy Kluge
Melissa Weddell


Bill provided the group with a brief outline of the chapter.

Principles of successful instruction improvement

  • Techniques vs. approach
  • Techniques: piece by piece, “trick” in detail
  • Approach: a system or a set of principles, plans
  • Approach change systematically (not like Pin the Tail on the Donkey)
  • Approach change incrementally
  • Plan to tinker
  • Set realistic expectations for success

Taking a Learner-Centered Approach

  • Study the new approach
  • Develop deeper and more accurate self-knowledge
  • Alter attitude toward assessment
  • Sophisticated learners want specific, focused feedback
  • Self-regulating learners make data-based assessment an ongoing activity
  • Experienced learners ask the right questions
  • Sohisticated learners make selective choice about peer involvement

 Below are some additional comments made by members of our group:

Offering choices to students/learners creates angst.

Students feel uncomfortable making choices. Many seem to want us to tell them what to do.

It’s okay to do a few little things regarding learner-centered instruction; no need to try everything in one semester.

We should provide guidelines to our students for what we’re looking for in class discussions.

A goal for student discussion could be to have them move from simply stating personal opinions to sharing their informed opinions. (Virginia recommends McKeachie’s Teaching Tips.)

TA –> ATA: An old way of doing a class lecture was discussing Theory first, then Application. A newer, perhaps better way, is ATA. Share an application, discuss theory, then discuss more applications.

We could consider treating our classrooms like restaurants. Allow students to choose from a menu of options (assignments, exams, etc.) to create a healty diet (reach instructional goals of the class).

How important is attendance anyway? (Big discussion about this, with no real consensus.)

Faculty members need to walk the talk when it comes to classroom/conference decorum. Discussion about presenting at a conference to peers & how challenging it was.

Finally, I’d like to ask all members of our Reading Roundtable to share two or three things they’ve done or plan to do as a result of learning more about Learner-Centered Teaching. Please post your ideas as a Comment to this blog posting.


2 responses to “Reading Roundtable 5B Meeting of April 24, 2008

  1. What I’ve Done: Offered assignment choices to students (for example, a blog or a brochure) & shown them how to read the textbook.

    What I Plan to Do: In-class peer review of their writing, especially after the last round of papers I just read 😦

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, McClellan.

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