Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What we learn at the 5-Star Consortium Orientation

 Some time ago, we posted a blog about how the 5-Star Consortium began. We said we wanted to “grow and meet the needs of our colleges into the future.” Adjunct (associate) faculty need some extra attention. From these initial conversations, the Best Practices event was developed. On Saturday, September 16, more than 70 faculty from the 5-Star Colleges were invited to attend and participate in a morning of learning and experience classroom practices that will lead to both faculty and student success.

The main goal of this orientation is to help everyone develop a common, shared understanding and vocabulary about teaching in the Five Star Consortium, and to engage in the campus conversations around teaching and learning. We want to give new faculty a space to meet, network, and talk about teaching with colleagues as the first step in creating a community of practice. We also want to give faculty a chance to get to know the professional development folks on each campus, and ask questions over lunch about the teaching and learning conversation at each college. We want to model techniques, strategies, and activities that even brand new instructors can use with their own students. How might each person adapt the activities to use with their students? What are the benefits of using activities like these?

We’ve selected the topics because they’re key components of the teaching and learning conversation, and are all connected with the major themes of active learning, the growth mindset, and metacognition. Our sessions include Growth Mindset paired with Reading Apprenticeship, Creating Community and setting expectations in the classroom for both the instructor AND the students, The Four Connections, Formative Assessment, and Legal Issues that intersect with the classroom and help everyone understand how to respond appropriately presented by HR. Throughout the morning we keep coming back to active learning, modeling, metacognition, and growth, and we always ask participants to think about potential applications in your classroom.

How do we assess the session? We decided from the very beginning that it’s important to not only talk about assessments but to engage in assessment. The “I Used to Know…Now I Know” technique after our session on growth mindset and reading apprenticeship can be used to check for learning and can be used in nearly every discipline. You can see that we went from many people not knowing anything about either of those subjects to a much better understanding of both. An instructor using this technique can gauge changes in understanding quickly and anonymously and make changes in classroom activities based on students’ perceptions of the material.

Talk to the faculty development person on your campus to learn more about formative assessments and how to implement them in your classroom!

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