Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Loving Another (Re)Design of My Graduate Courses: Inviting High School Students to Attend, Too

I learned last semester with my service-learning courses that having K-12 youth with us in a Fairfield University, campus setting, makes all the instruction, conversations, activities, learning, reading, and writing much more robust. That is why, this semester, I opened up my graduate courses for a similar experience. Why not have young people, who everyone has on the radar for literacy achievement, in class to see if the methods and practices we're reading about actually work?

In each of the classes, I hovered the graduate course readings on the screen so that all activities were labeled, known, and relevant to the preparation for the in-practice instruction.

After the exercises, we have opportunity to talk to the young people about whether or not the instruction worked. In addition, the graduate students can reflect on what they saw, learned, experienced, and recognized.

I was interested by the response of one student when I asked, "How often do you see these practices implemented at your school?" The response, "We don't see this." They then share what they have class to class at their schools and why it doesn't work and could be more effective.

Youth are the experts. That's been my point all along.

I could write about the content we covered today: several articles, charts, visuals, poems, and learning mapping, but that would give away all the secrets we're discovering.

In short, I'm thrilled. I can only accomplish so much as an instructor. The young people, in collaboration with the learning of the teachers-in-training (and in practice), make all the knowledge more pertinent.

Of course, it exhausts me, too. That is a love for the field!

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