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Teaching Excellence Center

Circle Summaries February 1998

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Monday 12:00 Session

We met on Monday at 12:00 in the AARC. We spent the first part of the meeting reviewing the handout and talking about our expectations for teaching circles. We decided that we want to have an open forum for discussion and will probably create a smaller online discussion group for ourselves in order to share possible sources/readings and as a way to initiate topics for future meetings.

Our first discussion quickly turned to one of the listed topics: "challenges of multi-level student competence within a classroom." We explored ideas of how to teach/reach students in this kind of environment, including issues of boredom, evaluation, the role(s) of the teacher, and definitions of "multi-level"--in terms of age, gender, culture, ethnicity, and social components. It was a great initial discussion (although a bit general), and we look forward to exploring these topics in more depth, as well as explore the topics in terms of classroom practices.

Our circle's hot topic is: "What is competence?"

Tuesday 9:30 Session

Lauren Scharff (Psychology) facilitated a circle on February 24 with Jill Carrington (Art), Debbie Dalton (Music) and Dale Hearell (English) in attendance. We gravitated to issues of multi-level student competence. One isssue was the gap between stated admission standards and actual practice; we find that a considerable number of our freshmen students do not meet stated admission standards. We also dealt with advising: the importance of good advising to student success, differences among colleges and departments in advising, the problems poor or no advising creates for students and instructors when courses are taken out of sequence, and approaches to advising that foster student responsibility for course selection and sequencing.

We discussed our spring schedule and plan to discuss challenges of multi-level student competencies within a classroom at our March 31st meeting, and the use of innovative teaching and groups at our April 28th meeting.

Wednesday 1:00 Session

Our teaching circle decided to discuss "motivating students" at our March meeting. We decided that this would be a good place to start, because everything revolves around this idea. Our group is very diverse and opinionated, so it should make for an interesting discussion. We decided on an open forum type of discussion, with articles brought in if we ran across them.

Wednesday 3:00 Session

Our teaching circle met at 3:00 p.m. Feb. 25th. There were three of our members present. We confirmed the times, dates, and meeting place for the March and April meetings. Our topic for discussion at the March meeting will be motivating students. We have no hot topic to report as this was only an organizational meeting.


Thursday 3:00 Session

The Teaching Circle facilitated by Suzy Weems met Thursday, Feb. 26, in the Living Room of the Human Sciences Building. Attending were Weems, Dan Giles (general business), Marsha Bayless (general business), Wanda Mouton (communication), Marlene Kahla (marketing), Marilyn Ratliff (music education), Pat Spence (communication) and Nancy Wisely (sociology).

Topics discussed at the group's initial meeting included motivating students, dealing with varying attitudes of students toward university learning, and the general lack of confidence among students in mathematics and how this impacts other academic disciplines.

The group's next meeting will be Thursday, March 26, in the Human Sciences Living Room. The topic for discussion will be the challenges of multi-level student competence within a classroom and will include discussion of how to accommodate those levels. In April, the circle members will discuss groups and teams in active learning.

The circle's "hot topic" for discussion across campus is: "How do you encourage attendance and enforce attendance policies without being perceived by students as inflexible and/or inhumane?"


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