This year in T&R we will have an ongoing focus learning about, practicing, and applying constructivist pedagogies.
At our October T&R meeting, Kelci shared how she revamped a typical lesson in her teaching to reflect constructivist practices.
She gave as an example an Ethnic Studies class that she would be teaching the next day. Following an ice breaker activity, the students jump right into hands-on work with archival materials, examining them to construct a narrative of the story they tell. These instruction sessions still require a lot of time for preparation, but the activity drives itself during the class.
She discussed the constructivist aspects of her lesson plan, which was handed out during the meeting. Notably she has moved from less front-heavy lecture about the materials, to moving quickly into student discovery of the materials followed by great discussion about the artifacts later. Formative assessment takes place during the group discussion, when the students share the narratives they distilled while examining the archival documents.
Kelci/Summer: In round 1 of the exercise, assign one article from the SCU student newspaper and ask students to determine the author’s bias, for example, is the student a member of a student organization that might influence their perspective. Then ask students to determine what type of article it is, for example, whether it is an opinion article or a news article. Then have students discuss their findings in class as a group exercise. For round 2 of this exercise, use the same activity except allow students to choose an article of their choice.
Nicole/Susan: Have students follow a news story on social media, for example, Facebook or Snapchat, for one week prior to class and then, as a group exercise, have students come to class prepared to discuss what they noticed.
Tony/Helene: Assign three articles on the same topic for reading prior to class, for example, cloning, with one article representing “fake news,” one representing ”media bias,” and one representing “editorial perspective.” As a group exercise, have students discuss the articles in class.
Sophia/Melanie: Have students look at article headlines only (using an aggregator like Google News), and try to identify an article’s bias based solely on the headline.
Leanna/Gail: Assign for reading prior to class two articles from “very different” news sources, for example, a Catholic and a secular news source, and then as a group exercise in class, ask students to deduce and discuss why the articles are different.