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Torn

Between doing work over the holidays…and not  Between feeling like I’m ahead…and knowing I’m really behind Between feeling obliged to prepping 5 courses during a short winter break…and recognizing the untenable nature of doing so  It is possible to be both a good educator, a “count on me” employee who “gets things done”…and be a good parent, mom, wife. But not always simultaneously.  And right now, in this moment, I’m choosing Option 2.

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Fostering Intercultural Relationships

The Cornwall campus of St. Lawrence College currently has six visiting scholars from China. Here to shadow and engage with our Supply Change Management team, the scholars – who teach in various capacities at Qingdao Harber Vocational and Technology College in Qingdao, Shandong (link to wikipedia as the english translation of their web page is out of date) – have been fascinated by our teaching methods and styles, and we have had some wonderful discussions about pedagogy and curriculum. I […]

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Gradeless – part 2

My last post was about going gradeless for part of a communications class. The experience was rewarding. Needs tweaking, but valuable.  Here are some further thoughts on the process and results: 1. Having students self-assess does not mean less work. Not for me; certainly not for students. There were complaints – it’s far easier to just accept the mark given than have to go through own work and identify strengths and weaknesses.  2. Students need support. This is time consuming, […]

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Gradeless

Is the gradeless classroom possible? I certainly would never have thought so a few years back, and I’m still not entirely convinced.  The longer I’ve been teaching writing, however, the longer I’ve contemplated the inadequacy of a grading system to evaluate and assess. Rubrics are – forgive me – not designed to foster creativity and though a single-point “rubric” can help identify key areas of focus, too detailed a rubric only leads to overly structured, unimaginative, cookie-cutter writing that lacks […]

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On Reading

Show me a student who is a reader, and I’ll show you a writer. Show me a strong analytical writer, and I’ll show you a sophisticated thinker.  Anecdotal? Perhaps. But in my experience, there is a clear correlation between the three.  It’s not wholly true that students don’t read. Ask a student and hey’ll tell you. They read Textbooks, Text Messages, Instagram Posts,  Online Sites of Interest, even the occasional Email (though reluctantly – email is pretty old school today!) […]

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Knock knock

Knock knock.  I pause from my teaching to see a student hovering at the door of the classroom. May I come in, Professor? May I enter, Ma’am? Sometimes just strolling in.  I was explaining a concept. Giving back an assignment. Interacting with students doing an activity. Demonstrating.  It is five minutes into class. 25 minutes. 85 minutes.  There are-I know-many professors who shut their classroom doors when class starts, and students have to wait for break. I’m sure there are […]

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Outdoor Ed

It’s no secret that Autumn in Ontario is my favourite time of year. The weather is great and there are no insects. At least once every fall I plan a class outside. I usually take advantage of a time 3-4 weeks into the course, when students are starting to feel the pressure and I sense that the theory they have absorbed is in need of some space for non-judgmental reflection. Students submit a homework assignment that will be graded for […]

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This One Is For The Parents…

You know how fast it happens. One minute they’re playing with Tonka trucks and learning to fly kites, the next they’re off to post-secondary. A couple of years ago, I wrote this post especially with new students in mind. My own son starts his own post-secondary adventure next week, and so today, I write this post especially for parents. Let them go. Give them space. Always be there for emotional support. You can’t fix everything- nor should you try. Professors can […]

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Revising Assessment

I developed a syllabus for new 1st semester communications course. It includes 40% for non-traditional (self-grading/contract grading) assessment of student writing and learning. I’ve had some skeptical looks when I’ve told colleagues this… “Students can’t grade themselves.” “They’re not ready for that in first semester.” “Everyone will get an A – it’s too easy.” I disagree. I did have a moment of panic after submitting the syllabus. What if it was too ambitious? What if it’s too confusing for students? […]

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August….

After a July of East coast ocean and kayaks and hikes and seafood and yachts, reading (current book: Robertson Davies – What’s Bred In The Bone), dog walking, swimming and violin practice, it is August. And in my world, that’s time to start slowly getting my head back into translating those thoughts of work that come and go over vacation to actions. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to teach a revised and revamped version of communication (COMM 110) that […]

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