“I find the great thing in this world is, not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving…”
I learned a lot during my first term as a Developmental Educator for college freshman. To continue moving forward, I have decided on the following three goals for the upcoming winter term. We are on the quarter system, where a term lasts 10 weeks.
- Feedback - I will provide students with timely feedback. As I’ve said before, I feel that quality feedback is an area that should be continuously worked on. While in the past I’ve also focused more on informative and specific feedback, I’ve decided to work more on the timely aspect this quarter. I feel I am giving informative and specific feedback. However, I have noticed that my tendency towards perfectionism in those two areas has bogged down the grading process. With only 10 weeks in a term, it is crucial that students know how they are doing right away. My motto has become “Prompt, not perfect feedback.” (Thanks Molly Smith!) This is one of the reasons why I am having students turn most assignments in using Google Docs. I tend to do better with electronic feedback rather than toting around the stacks of paper. Since I have a toddler running around, I do a lot of sporadic grading (a few papers here and there instead of all at once). Doing it electronically helps me to keep track of where I am without my daughter trying to use a stack of papers as confetti. :) Typed comments also take much less time than handwritten ones, so I am more efficient. Side note: I will be thinking about how I can use Standards Based Grading practices in my CORE 101 the next time around. I am thinking of setting up a mastery learning system for study skills.
- Connections – I will better emphasize the connections between class activities, course assignments, and how they are related to the life of students at EOU. Thanks to inspiration from a colleague who is great with the big picture, I realized that my courses need to be a more coherent whole. It can be easy to get caught up in specific study skills, reading strategies, and what not and lose site of the overall purpose. I will strive to make clear connections for my students so they see how things are integrated. This will hopefully help them easily transfer what they learn to the rest of their college education. I will do this by stating specific connections more often, planning more from the big picture than just teaching isolated skills, and pushing students to make their own connections.
- Instructional Methods – I will diversity the instructional methods I use in class. I realized over the past term that as I was learning the ropes of my new job, I tended to fall back on the instructional strategies I found most comfortable. I need to go back to the drawing board and review a multitude of strategies to find those that will best help my students learn. I noticed that many of my students are more hands-on, so I need to do more in that area in particular.
Do you have any feedback or advice on these goals? I would appreciate any advice, resources or insights. What are your goals? I encourage you to post them here or elsewhere.