assignments ENGL301 Writing & The Teaching of Writing:
Research in Teaching Diverse Students
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Bridgewater State University
Crowd-sourcing Comments from Book Club Presentations: Another way to comment on work that is more assessment than evaluation is by collecting all of the feedback data you have from students and presenting it as one evaluation of all of the presentations at once. This way comments that are rough sting less, and everyone benefits from feedback so that their next presentation is stronger. This is one way to give feedback to a class about presentations that makes the class the loudest voice in the assessment. Also, this kind of feedback makes the audience besides the teacher matter and demands that the audience be attentive and thoughtful. What follows is a collection of observations about the book club presentations.
- People generally said they liked people's book club presentations. I don't know if this was because they knew folks would read the comments or if they really thought this, but that's what people said. But I, personally, felt like the book club presentations were pretty successful--and, honestly, pretty low stakes.
- People kept to time. All of the groups were under rather significantly. I think we all appreciated the quickness of the presentations. Remember: One, double-spaced page of text equals two minutes of talking time. At the same time, use the time guideline as a guideline as to the density of your presentation for your research presentation. A five minute presentation is not going to be very in-depth. But a 20 minute presentation is going to have some heft to it.
- Nobody really had much by way of visuals, except of one group, and those visuals were very well received. And I agree. That wasn't a requirement for this presentation or the next one. And I rather have no visuals than bad ones. Having your entire presentation on a screen means people will read (if they can see the text) and not pay attention to you. The doc cam assignments didn't go over. And I get why. I just read and, at the same time, it was hard to read.
- Most folks only said that the assignments were good. That's not really helpful feedback. I gave specific feedback to groups in the group grade evals. I would have liked to know or see more informal writing that lead to more formal writing and for the projects to support that more formal writing (not that I’m asking for an essay like you’ve written a million times). So something to keep in mind going forward is 1) making sure the assignments you are developing are writing-intensive as well as reading-intensive and 2) that the ways it is writing intensive is clear to your audience. I realize we have not started really talking about this--another downside of the five week class, so I get why there was not a ton with these short assignments. But you'll know more, so your material should show that.
- Other stuff I want to say to folks: the major difference between this presentation and what you will do for Research in Teaching Diverse is twofold: 1) the other groups don't know what you know about the theory. In this presentation, folks could rely on others knowing the basics of the conversation about reading theory. But you will be the expert here, so, as with the summary/analysis of the books, you will need to give folks information, sort of a fair amount of it, and you'll need to do it quickly, memorably, and professionally--so that is your considerable first challenge; 2) you are being asked to teach your subject and to engage your audience in the time you have via a learning experience. As I have tried to model for you in class, an activity that embodies what you want to say is far more effective as a teacher than lecture. Do not dismiss the part of this upcoming presentation that asks you to engage your classmates in an activity. It will show me that you really understand what is at stake for your population and it will help your classmates understand ideas in a shortened span of time.