Welcome to My Classroom – 2012

The opening act in Anatomy 101
B. Singh, University of Saskatchewan

Anatomy is a challenging subject. Most of the students in professional health science programs are not necessarily aiming to become an anatomist! The first lecture/class in anatomy, which most likely is the first class for students in their professional programs such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, kinesiology or nursing, plays a critical role in setting the stage for the anatomical sciences and, potentially, for the whole program. Anatomy is also taught in many courses in biology. Students and teachers start to form impressions and opinions of each other from the moment they meet for the first time, and the first impressions play critical roles in an interaction lasting only a few weeks.

We will enact the first class in veterinary anatomy. This will be the first opportunity for the students (you) and the teacher (me) to interact and create a vision of the anatomy course, the teaching methods and the fun that we will have during the course. The topic of the day would be the anatomy of an organ (so, come unprepared), and will provide a glimpse of my somewhat simple teaching methods, my way of explaining concepts and the sense of openness inherently needed to create a collaborative learning environment. I hope to demonstrate an engagement that leads to student contributions to the first lecture and throughout the course.

Following the class (35 minutes), we will collectively reflect for about 15 minutes on how to create an engaging and collaborative first session in any subject that would lead to a higher participation with an aim to create a summary list of items that foster or hinder a good start to learning in a course. The summary would be shared among the participants and submitted to the conference organizers.

 The one with the most votes wins?: Get ready for the 2012 American presidential elections
S. Friedman, Université de Montréal

 This class is the last one before the 2012 American Presidential Elections, to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. You are one of 75 students in the class “Contemporary American Culture”, a class in which you are studying the social and cultural changes of the United States from 1945 to the present day. You are a student from the English Studies department, Translation, or other Arts disciplines. As you are a student at the Université de Montréal, it is highly likely that your first language is not English.

We will spend 40 minutes learning about the indirect method of the American presidential elections, in which the one with the most votes is not necessarily the winner. We will gain an intimate understanding of the electoral process, by means of a mock election involving, among other things, the largest calculator you have ever seen in your life. This is a highly interactive session in which students will act as state representatives, voters, vote counters, and returning officers.

We will explore online and interactive iPhone and iPad apps (bring your toys) which will help you to understand previous elections (especially the hotly-contested 2000 presidential election). By the end of the class, you will be a politics junkie, and you will be well prepared to follow the election results “live” with the rest of your classmates on election night via our real-time online chat.

The presentation will conclude with your reflections on the techniques.

Why do we expect so little of some students and so much of others? Learn about the Teacher Expectancy Model and how to interact with students for their success, not yours! 
A. Thompson, St Francis Xavier University

This class happens in the third week of the term in Health Education, a fourth year required course for students who want to become Physical Education teachers (~25-30 students) and an elective for others interested in promoting health (~40-50 students). Total class size = 65-80.

You will become immediately engaged in the topic of this class as soon as it starts when I ask you to contemplate about whether or not you had a teacher (or someone else) ‘give up’ on you? Further questions I want you to think about are: what gave you the impression the teacher (or other person) gave up on you and what did you do as a result? You will share your recollections with a few classmates and I will ask for descriptions of the teacher’s (or other person’s) words and actions to be shared with the class as a whole.

We will then watch a cleverly produced video clip regarding teacher expectations. Once our tears are wiped away, we will briefly discuss our response to the video, making links to our earlier discussion where possible.

The Teacher Expectancy Model will then be described, including the student and teacher characteristics that often lead to low and inappropriately formed expectations for students and their performance in and out of the classroom. You can make links between this model and other real life situations and how we treat people based upon their characteristics and how we perceive them.

The final interactive activity for this class is a carousel where you – along with a small group – will have the opportunity to expand your thinking of the factors that lead to inappropriately-formed low student (client, patient) expectations and how to limit them so they do not interfere with your teaching or health care services.

In terms of outcomes from this session, you will have the opportunity to be physically and mentally engaged in this ‘class’ which focuses on how to teach students as individuals while avoiding the pitfalls of inappropriately formed expectations. This is not a class to come to if you want to sit and be quiet; it will be interactive and dynamic class with as much input from you as there is from me!

Upon leaving this session, you will be encouraged to reflect on your interactions with your students (and others) in and out of the classroom and how these verbal and non-verbal interactions can enhance or detract from their success.

Breaking down barriers and extending borders: The first hour of a creative writing workshop. 
R. Moore, St. Thomas University

Introduction: The Creative Writing Workshop offered to various age groups, Middle School, High School, Adult Writers of varied abilities and experiences is always an adventure. The first hour is extremely important, for it is in that first act of introduction that the workshop is often made or marred. I offer creative writing workshops (poetry and prose) of varying lengths: a half day, a whole day, a weekend, a week, but there is only one chance to make a first impression; and that first impression is all important.

Outcomes: During this workshop, all participants (“students” and “audience”) will have an opportunity to start writing two poems and to research material for a third. All participants will witness different methods of Breaking Down Barriers and Extending Boundaries in a small group teaching / learning situation.

Structure:

  1. A group of 12 “students” whom I will facilitate / teach.
  2. An audience of however many want to watch.

Inclusiveness:

  1. The 12 “students” (I can handle a group of 20 or so if attendance at the workshop is small) will complete the exercises, discuss them among themselves, and selected students will react with the facilitator / teacher as they would in a normal creative writing workshop.
  2. The audience will also complete all the written exercises and discuss them among themselves but, especially if the group is large, they will not react with the facilitator / teacher until the end of the session (meta) reflection on the techniques and strategies used during the workshop.

Content:

  1. Breaking the Barriers 1: Introducing the Facilitator / Teacher
    Written exercise followed by group interaction; facilitator / teacher responses.
  2.  Breaking the Barriers 2: Introducing the Students
    Written exercise followed by group interaction; facilitator / teacher responses.
  3. Extending the Boundaries 1: Teaching Method
    First Poem — The Inquisitor.
    Written exercise based on The Inquisitor, followed by group interaction; facilitator / teacher responses.
  4. Extending the Boundaries 2: The Discovery of Self Second
    Poem: José Hierro, Any old afternoon.
    Written exercise based on Any old Afternoon, followed by group interaction; facilitator / teacher responses.
  5. Extending the Boundaries 3: Selected Readings from Land of Rocks and Saints and / or Monkey Temple.
  6. Extending the Boundaries 4: Homework and Break Session.
  7. End of the session (meta) reflection on the techniques and strategies used during the workshop.

The teacher-in-the-head / La voix intérieure 
A. Fancy, Mount Allison University)

The Teacher-in-the-Head : a Bilingual Master-class (NOTE: Participants do NOT need to know any French)

July 14, 2011. A class in Stylistique appliquée II, designed for Masters students at Middlebury College who aim to develop a personal French writing style, refine argumentative strategies, and resolve residual errors of language.

Drawing on his teacher journal, the presenter will take participants into this class of twelve diverse students, highlighting critical moments. After a rapid review of class objectives, anticipated rhythm and contours, activities and challenges, he will re-create – with the help of workshop participants who will be invited to role-play – what actually happened in the class, and how he attempted to go with the flow of the class while also shaping the flow.

We will explore the double challenge of teachers who, like actors, must be simultaneously “in the moment” and ”aware of the moment“? We listen to the Teacher-in-the-Head while also embodying the Teacher-in-the-Classroom. We will share our thoughts on those ”blink“ moments when we take the temperature, observe the flow, consider Plan B (or C), check for zones of disconnect, find an engagement strategy, meet whatever comes our way today…

We will also consider how to prevent the Teacher-in-the-Head from becoming what Agosto Boal called the ”Cop-in- the-Head.”