Screenshot of Google Form header and first question

Plans to instill reflective practice throughout an ASL course

This summer, I took a course required of all instructors who teach in the Maricopa Community College District: EDU250 – Teaching and Learning in the Community Colleges. It was actually a very good course on classroom teaching in general – a refresher and expansion on what I learned about education in the Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies with an emphasis in Teaching Interpreting program I took at Western Oregon University. I took EDU250 at the same time as Conversations with Stakeholders: Practicum and Mentorship through the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers (NCIEC), and the last section of this course was about reflective practice. The assignment to write “thoughts, goals, ideas, and objectives … of something we want to complete” made me think of writing this plan.

Plan to instill reflective practice in an ASL course

Course: SLG101 – American Sign Language I
Textbook: Signing Naturally Units 1–6 workbook with DVD

Methodology

Signing Naturally has self-assessment built into it; it is just a matter of how the teacher takes advantage of this feature. I plan to use it to collect data electronically in a way that I can evaluate and share with students. Each unit in Signing Naturally has a self-assessment at the end which asks students to rate the comfort and confidence they feel, on a scale from 1 to 5, in the skills they learned in that unit.

I will assign the students to complete this self-assessment from their workbook in a Google Form survey. I create the survey using the same questions in the workbook, and for each question, I have the students select a number from 1 to 5 on a scale. For example, here a screenshot of the form header and first question:

Screenshot of Google Form header and first question
Screenshot of Google Form header and first question

The Signing Naturally workbook also has a “Questions to Ask” that the students are instructed to practice asking in ASL. These questions give them practice in the expressive (not receptive), skill areas addressed in the unit self-assessment. The same questions are modeled in the Unit Review section of the DVD. I have the students study the questions, watch the signer model them on the DVD, practice signing the questions themselves, and video record themselves signing the questions. I then have them post the video to YouTube, marking it Unlisted so others on the Internet cannot view them, and send me the link. I recommend that they watch themselves signing the questions as a reflective practice and to help them in completing their unit self-assessments. I watch the videos to assess their competence and give them feedback by text and/or video response.

Another way I will create opportunities to compare the students’ self-assessment with my assessment of their performance is to write my receptive exams with those skill areas in mind. For example, for the self-assessment question “I can follow classroom instructions,” I can ask the students to write the correct response to the direction YOU NAME WRITE-DOWN and see if they write their name in the space provided.

I do not have the technology for the students to enter their exam answers electronically, so I will enter the data of each student’s performance in a spreadsheet. In the left column, I will list student’s ID, and in subsequent columns, I will put the skill areas in a header that matches the header in the spreadsheet made from their self-assessment. For example, I would have “Skill 4” as the header of the second column of the spreadsheet, and I would put the student’s score on the exam question I designed to assess that skill. Since the students self-assessed their comfort and confidence with skill area 4, “I can follow classroom instructions,” and I tested their performance in this skill area by asking them to write down their name, I will enter a 1 or a 0 depending on whether they performed satisfactorily in this skill area.

Benefits

There are several benefits to having the student enter their data electronically:

  • I get to collect all the answers from all the students, and:
    • I don’t have to take the time to look at each student’s book, which I will probably forget after looking.
    • I don’t have to collect papers, which is ecologically friendlier, lighter and less space-consuming, and students don’t have to remember to bring papers with them to class.
    • I don’t have to enter their data myself.
  • I get data I can actually use in various ways, such as:
    • Assessing how each student is doing
    • Assessing how the class as a whole is doing
    • Assessing how one class is doing compare to another class in the current semester or future semesters
  • I can adjust my teaching to ensure the students learn the course competencies and unit objectives
  • I can share the aggregate data with the students by projecting a chart on the screen in the classroom so they see how they did as a class, and see why we are focusing extra attention on the weaker areas the day of the unit exam review.

There is another advantage to self-assessment: the students can compare the assessment in the unit exams to their own self-assessment, and get a sense of the accuracy of their self-assessment skills.

The Signing Naturally workbook does not contain unit exams; however, I will design my unit exams with the course objectives in mind. For example, for the self-assessment question “I know how to introduce myself (fingerspell my name, ask for a name, and express pleasure in meeting someone)” there is a corresponding “question to ask” in the workbook “ask the person’s name.” I may expand the assignment to have the student fingerspell their own name, ask a person’s name, and express pleasure in meeting them. That, then gives both the student and me an opportunity to compare the student’s self-assessment with their actual performance on the expressive part of the unit exam (the Questions to Ask video they submit on YouTube). My goal in this, and I will explain this to the students, is for them to become reflective practitioners, get to know themselves as learners, improve their learning based on their self-assessment.

Limitations

Granted, there are limitations to comparing self-assessment to performance, including:

  • The student may not understand the self-assessment questions, and hence not accurately assess themselves on the correct skill areas (e.g., the student might not remember what fist letters are in the question “I know the correct handshapes for fist letters”).
  • The students may, and I hope will, improve upon their skill in the areas they self-assess by getting help on those areas in class on review day, and studying harder on those areas, both by themselves and in study groups.
  • The students may feel inferior to other students when the see how they did compared to how other students did.
  • The students might resent the teacher for pointing out the inaccuracy of the student’s self-assessment.
  • The students might, ultimately, not know what to make of the data they are given about their own self-assessment in comparison to the teacher’s assessment of their performance on exams.
  • The students might not learn how to self-assess or use self-assessment and external assessment to improve their learning.
  • The instructor might not design exam questions that accurately measure student achievement in each skill area.
  • The instructor might make errors in grading the paper exams.
  • The instructor might make data entry errors in transferring the scores on the paper exams into an electronic spreadsheet.
  • There might be technical difficulties comparing the self-assessment spreadsheet with the exam results spreadsheet.
  • The instructor might not learn from these assessments and might not improve his teaching.

Safeguards

  • I will give the students opportunities to self-assess in class by using another technology, a student response system (SRS) such as Poll Everywhere, so they can get practice in self-assessment and can feel a lack of pressure since they are sending their ratings anonymously.
  • I will display the aggregate answers on a screen so students can see how their classmates self-assessed. This can sometimes alleviate students’ feelings of being alone in feeling insecure on a point.
  • I will not be heavy-handed or use evaluative language when informing students of their self-assessments, my assessments, and the differences between the two. I will non-judgmentally present the data for their consideration.
  • I will compassionately guide the studentsinevaluatingtheirself-assessmentin relation to their exam results and engage them in a dialogue about how they feel about any discrepancies. I can ask them:
    • Did they feel the test questions were fair?
    • Did they understand what they were rating themselves on in the first place, or were they confused about the self-assessment questions?
    • Did they improve upon their self-assessment through studying alone, in class during the review, and in study groups?
    • What study techniques were most effective in improving their exam performance vis-à-vis their pre- exam review self-assessment?
  • I will use the data collected to refine my questions on subsequent exams and continually improve the validity of my exams.
  • I will maintain all records using best practices in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

I look forward to doing this action research in objectives-based evaluation, use of instructional technology, and methods of assessment to improve my teaching and my students’ learning.

References

Maricopa Community College District. (n.d.). EDU250 – Teaching and learning in the community college – Official course description. Retrieved from http://www.maricopa.edu/curriculum/D-L/076edu250.html

Mikos, K., Smith, C., Lentz, E. M. (2008). Signing naturally: Student workbook 1–6. San Diego, CA: Dawn Sign Press.

Concept Map using Popplet

I completed this project for EDU250, Teaching and Learning in the Community Colleges, in July 2014. The assignment was:

Create your first Popplet. Title the Popplet About Accreditation and populate it with the information you gleaned through the readings and research exploration that you conducted this week regarding accreditation and the Higher Learning Commission.

Assessing Student Learning

Assignment Prompt

This project was completed for EDU250, Teaching in the Community Colleges. The assignment for this project was:

This week you reviewed chapters 28-31, exploring techniques for assessing our students knowledge of the learning outcomes.

You read that there are a number of strategies that we can use to assess student learning including test construction and grading, student preparedness for tests, and formative assessment techniques. In the eTech challenge you learned about student polling which you also learned about in chapters 27 and 28.

Please review this website created by Laura Ballard formerly of GateWay Community College, and now at Mesa Community College. The site provides a number of ways that student learning can be assessed using technology. Please note that technology should only be used if it adds value, not for digital bling.

So for this project, you will continue to work with the 1-3 learning objectives for the class that you identified in the the prior projects.

Using the techniques and information that you learned in the readings, create a summative assessment and a formative assessment that you can use to assess student learning of each outcome. Include a grading rubric for the summative assessment.

For each learning objective, you should submit:

  • The learning objectives to be covered
  • An assessment for each objective (this could be a project assignment, a test, etc.)
  • A description of a formative assessment and what you would like to glean from the information obtained
  • A description of why you chose the assessment technique and how they relate to your learning outcomes/objectives.

Learning Objectives
  1. Know what questions Deaf people are likely to ask you when you first meet them, and know how to respond appropriately
  2. Ask and respond affirmatively or negatively to yes/no questions
  3. Engage in a first-meeting conversation
1. Know what questions Deaf people are likely to ask you when you first meet them, and know how to respond appropriately
Formative Assessment
Lead the class in a conversation about what people ask each other when they first meet. This gets them talking about what they know, so they can connect the new with the known. Then get them to talk about the questions Deaf people ask ASL students, and why. I hope to glean whether they are aware of the discourse routines in their everyday conversations and if they know the difference between conversations they have had when meeting hearing people for the first time and the conversations they will have when they meet Deaf people for the first time. Make mental notes, notes on a tablet only I can see, and/or notes on the board capturing common insights and misperceptions.  Clarify any confusion the students may have, and dispel any misconceptions they seem to have.
Summative Assessment
Have the students write a one-minute paper listing the questions a Deaf person will probably ask them when they first meet. Have the students turn in these papers, and give them a few points for a good faith effort. The only “rubric” would be that they responded to the prompt by listing relevant questions, at least half of which are correct.
Rationale and Relevance
I chose this formative assessment because the nature of the class, an ASL class, is immediate and interactive; conversation needs to be continuous, and very little time can be taken up with pauses for notating assessment. I chose this summative assessment because it allows them to memorize their knowledge by committing it to writing, and it shows me what they know. Both of these assessment relate to the learning objective because they directly assess the students’ knowledge.
2. Ask and respond affirmatively or negatively to yes/no questions
Formative Assessment
Demonstrate to the students how to nod your head when answering yes and shake your head when answering no to a yes/no question. Show them the ASL equivalent of “No, I am hearing” and “Yes, I am a student.” Have them pair up and practice asking and answering “Are you Deaf?” “No, I am hearing.” “Are you a student”? “Yes, I am a student.” Walk around the classroom and watch students practice the conversation in pairs. Correct some errors and make mental notes of common errors; also note patterns in individual students’ progress. After a few minutes, give feedback to the class on what most of them showed they comprehended and didn’t comprehend.
Summative Assessment
The summative assessment for this learning objective will be subsumed in the summative assessment for “engage in a first-meeting conversation”
Rationale and Relevance
Responding to yes/no questions lives within the broader scope of a conversation, and the applicable conversation at this stage in the class (beginning of the term) is a first-meeting conversation. Therefore, it will be assessed within the next summative assessment.
3. Engage in a first-meeting conversation
Formative Assessment
Walk around the classroom and watch students practice the conversation in pairs. Correct some errors and make mental notes of common errors; also note patterns in individual students’ progress.
Summative Assessment
Have pairs of students perform the conversation in front of the class, and give them a grade on the accuracy and naturalness of their performance. Make this assessment count as a quiz, a small percentage of their overall grade. See rubric below.
Rationale and Relevance
I chose this formative assessment because it gives students a chance to develop confidence in working toward the learning objective, and it shows me how far they are coming along in their progress; I chose this summative assessment because it encompasses the first two learning objectives. In order to have a first-meeting conversation with a Deaf person, the students need to understand the questions Deaf people will ask them, and know how to respond appropriately. The first part of this conversational skill is knowledge. The next part, as a foundation to the rest, is to know how to grammatically ask and answer a yes/no question; the last part is combining all three to “apply the ability to initiate, conduct, and terminate a short specific conversation in ASL” (official course competency XII).
Rubric for Summative Assessment
First-Meeting Conversation Rubric
First-Meeting Conversation Rubric
Resources

MCCCD Program Description, American Sign Language I. Center for Curriculum & Transfer Articulation, Division of Academic and Student Affairs. Retrieved from https://aztransmac2.asu.edu/cgi-bin/WebObjects/acres.woa/wa/freeForm2?id=56062

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Lesson plan incorporating visuals & technologies to address various learning styles

Assignment Prompt

This project was completed for EDU250, Teaching in the Community Colleges. The assignment for this project was:

This week you reviewed chapters 23, 25-27, exploring ways to make learning easier for your students.

You read that there are a number of strategies that we can use to get our students to do the readings, and ways to personalize learning in regard to learning style. You also learned some tips for using visuals in your classes and were exposed to some low and high tech strategies for incorporating technology in your classes, which should relate to some of the eTech challenges we have been working on.

So for this project, you will continue to work with the 1-3 learning objectives for the class that you identified in the the prior projects.

Using the techniques and information that you learned in the readings, identify the teaching and learning techniques that you would use to engage your students with the content including reading, addressing learning styles, using visuals and technologies.

Submit a plan for those objectives including:

  • The learning objectives to be covered
  • Techniques for students to do the reading
  • Addressing different learning styles
  • Using visuals
  • Using technologies
  • A description of why you chose the technique and how they relate to your learning outcomes/objectives

Learning Objectives
  1. Engage in a first-meeting conversation
  2. Ask and respond affirmatively or negatively to yes/no questions
  3. Know what questions Deaf people are likely to ask you when you first meet them, and know how to respond appropriately
Techniques for Students to Do the Reading

At the beginning of the course, I will show students how to read the workbook, watch the DVD, and write/draw in the workbook to complete the exercises. I will give them hints on how to read the text; for example, to read the first and last pages before reading those in the middle, scan for headings, words that are bold or italicized, look at the exercises in the book before watching the DVD so they know what to watch for; I will teach the students to watch the DVD once through; then watch it and answer questions in the workbook as they go; then check their answers with those in the back of the book (if there are any); then note what they got wrong and what the correct answer is; then watch the DVD again to see if they can see the correct information being signed. I will show them how to pause the DVD as necessary, but review the DVD for longer and longer periods between pausing until they can watch the section all the way through and understand all of it. I will also instruct the students in using study buddies to practice the conversations.

Addressing Different Learning Styles

When I assign the homework, I will tell the students that they will either be chosen to demonstrate the role play in front of the class or be an active observer who might be called upon to write the sequence of utterances, diagram the conversation, reflect on the role play, or critique the role play for accuracy of message or sign and grammar production. At the beginning of class, I will chose a pair of students to role play the conversation in front of the class. After the students role play, I will give them and the observers time to reflect upon the activity. After the reflection, I will pair up the students and have them practice the conversation with each other.

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences
For the pair of students role playing, the activity addresses Gardner’s verbal linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, and interpersonal intelligences. For those observing, it addresses Gardner’s logical-mathematical, spatial, and intrapersonal intelligences.
Kolb’s Learning Cycle and Types
The homework for this activity involves Kolb’s concrete experience (CE) and abstract conceptualization (AC) phases and is ideal for Kolb’s convergers and assimilators learning types. For the students doing the role play in front of their classmates, this activity involves Kolb’s active experimentation (AE) phase and is most ideal for Kolb’s divergers learning type. For the students watching their classmates role playing, this activity involves Kolb’s reflective observation (RO) phase and is most ideal for Kolb’s accommodators learning type. However, observers who are convergers will also be served because demonstrations are one of the best activities for them learn from.
Fleming and Mill’s Sensory-Based (VARK) Learning Styles
The homework for this activity can address the auditory/aural learning style if the students translate the conversation into English and practice reciting and hearing it in English either before or in between recitations in ASL. The translation involved would also address read-write, as could a study activity in which the students write the sequence of utterances in the conversation (e.g., “say hello, give full name, ask other’s first name, express pleasure in meeting…”). All phases of this assignment, both during homework and classwork, address the visual and kinesthetic learning styles. Also, the read-write learning style is addressed in the classroom exercise for the students watching the role play to write a reflection, critique, sequence, or diagram. As a teacher, I can also address the auditory learning style by briefly explaining the conversation in English or allowing for a few minutes of spoken English question-and-answer.
Felder and Silverman’s Index of Learning Styles
The students doing the role play in class are learning actively while the students watching the role play are learning reflectively; the students role playing and watching will all learn both verbally and visually. As the instructor, I can ask the students after the role play “how did you feel?” to address intuitive experiences and “what did you observe?” to address sensory experiences. Most of the homework and classwork for this assignment will be done sequentially, but as an instructor, I can guide the students to see the big picture of the conversation–which is to make connections in the Deaf community–so they can understand the assignment globally.
Using Technologies and Visuals

The book and DVD used in the course contain both still and motion pictures of signs, respectively. Also, the students observing the role plays will be instructed to create visuals if they choose. The instructor can then project the visuals using an ELMO. Alternatively, students can draw diagrams on the board. In addition to this, the instructor may make corrections or amendments to the diagrams drawn by students, or may draw new diagrams on the board to clarify any misconceptions. The board may be a better technology than a presentation slide, because, as Nilson (2010) explains:

First, it slows us down—both our speaking pace and our movement through the material—giving students a few more precious moments to follow and absorb what we are saying and doing. We might not notice it, but we often speed through the material when we are working off prepared slides or transparencies. Second, while writing on the board, most of us do a better job of modeling our thought processes. We explain them while they unfold. By contrast, PowerPoint slides are designed for lists of items, not cognitive processes. (p. 254)

I might even use the visual below if I want to teach the students about Kolb’s cycle of learning theory and how I hope these activities will support them in their learning process.

Kolb Learning Cycle. Davies & Lowe, 2005
Kolb Learning Cycle. Davies & Lowe (2005)

Rationale for Techniques and Their Relevance to Learning Objectives

Every activity in this lesson guides students toward the objectives of engaging in a first-meeting conversation, asking and responding affirmatively or negatively to yes/no questions, and knowing what questions Deaf people are likely to ask you when you first meet them and know how to respond appropriately. The book and DVD expose the students to the information and language modeling they need to know in order to practice toward learning these objectives; the recitation students do before class and during class–as well as the observation and explication–give them practice in applying the theory and language learned in the book and on the DVD. All the activities in this lesson are designed to relate to the learning objectives in ways that address various learning styles.

Resources

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Lesson plan incorporating teaching methods & moves

This project was completed for EDU250, Teaching in the Community Colleges. The assignment for this project was:

This week you reviewed chapters 11-17 [in Nilson, 2010], exploring ways to choose and use the right tools for teaching and learning.

You read that it begins with the learning outcomes/objectives. So for this project, you will select 1-3 learning objectives for the class that you identified in the syllabus project that you would cover in an hour long class period.

Using the techniques and information that you learned in the readings, identify the teaching and learning techniques that you would use to engage your students in the content during that hour long period.

Submit a plan for that hour including:

  • The learning objectives to be covered
  • Agenda for the hour
  • The format for the class
  • Teaching methods to be used
  • Teaching moves to be used
  • A description of why you chose the format, each method and each move and how they relate to your learning outcomes/objectives.

Course Competencies

  1. Apply the ability to initiate, conduct, and terminate a short specific conversation in ASL. (XIII)
  2. Apply receptive and expressive mastery of grammatical features of ASL— pronouns, verbs, tense indicators, negatives, adjectives, adverbs, classifiers in specific commands, questions, and statements. (II-IX)

Learning Objectives

  1. Engage in a first-meeting conversation
  2. Ask and respond affirmatively or negatively to yes/no questions
  3. Know what questions Deaf people are likely to ask you when you first meet them, and know how to respond appropriately

Class Format

  • seminar as students learn the language as written in the textbook and modeled on the DVD before class, and prepare in pairs to role-play the conversations in front of the class. Why I chose this: so that students learn through group work and modeling/teaching.
  • lecture/discussion: instructor will lecture students to explain what needs to be clarified, depending on students’ misunderstanding; students will discuss the nature of introductory conversations. Why I chose this: so that students engage in critical thinking and instructor guides the students toward competence.
  • skill activity: students practice the conversations with each other. Why I chose this: so that students develop competence in using the language and engaging in common discourse routines.
  • All three class formats relate to all course competencies and learning objectives.

Agenda

Noon–12:10: Students 1 & 2 will demonstrate Conversation 1 from Homework 2:1. Students 1 & 2 will teach the grammatical features, sign production, and sign order to the class.

12:10–12:15: Instructor will lead class discussion of whether students executed conversations correctly. Instructor will guide Q & A between the classmates and Students 1 & 2.

12:15–12:20: All students will practice Conversation 1 with each other, with Students 1 & 2 split up and working paired with other students in the class. Instructor will supervise and correct students as necessary, also being available for Q & A.

12:20–12:25: Instructor will give general notes and corrections of manual and nonmanual production errors, will guide discussion and general Q & A.

12:25–12:35: Students 3 & 4 will demonstrate Conversation 2 from Homework 2:2. Students 3 & 4 will teach the grammatical features, sign production, and sign order to the class.

12:35–12:40: Instructor will lead class discussion of whether students executed conversations correctly. Instructor will guide Q & A between the classmates and Students 1 & 2.

12:40–12:45: All students will practice Conversation 1 with each other, with Students 1 & 2 split up and working paired with other students in the class. Instructor will supervise and correct students as necessary, also being available for Q & A.

12:45–12:50: Instructor will give general notes and corrections of manual and nonmanual production errors, will guide discussion and general Q & A.

12:50–1:00: Instructor will lead students in a discussion of “Insight: Making Connections” about what Deaf people commonly ask when they first meet hearing ASL students.

Teaching Methods

  • role plays as students play the roles of people first meeting each other and exchanging introductory information
  • recitation as students recite the phrases they have learned
  • directed discussion as instructor leads students in discussing the execution of the role plays and the typical questions people ask each other when they first meet
  • classroom assessment techniques as instructor walks around the classroom while students are practicing the conversations they are learning and makes corrections as needed
  • student-peer feedback as students will critique role players on their execution of the conversations to be recited
  • just-in-time teaching as instructor notes and corrects the common errors seen among the students during classroom assessment

Teaching Moves

 Knowledge

Instructor will “suggest prior knowledge to which students can link new and future information and knowledge” and students will “recognize and identify information” (Nilson, 2010, p. 111). Why I chose this: During the last discussion, instructor will ask students to tell what questions they would ask of a student learning English as a second language, and will guide students to seeing how these questions are the same as or different from the questions Deaf people ask of students learning ASL as a second language.

Evaluation

Instructor will “explain with examples how factors such as culture, experience, desires, interests, and passions, as well as systematic thinking, influence choice and interpretations” and students will “detect mistakes, false analogies, relevant versus irrelevant issues, contradictions, and faulty predictions” (p. 111). Why I chose this: During final discussion, instructor will ask students how they thought the questions Deaf people would ask them are the same as or different from the questions the students would ask students of English as a second language. Instructor would explain why or why not the two lines of questioning were the same, informing the students of the values of Deaf culture so they know what to expect from their interactions with Deaf people.

References

Godot13 (2013). “Czech 2013 Prague Astronomical Clock Face.” Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Czech-2013-Prague-Astronomical_clock_face.jpg

Maricopa Community College District Official Course Competencies for SLG101. Retrieved from Center for Curriculum & Transfer Articulation, http://www.maricopa.edu/academic/ccta/

Nilson, Linda B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors. Wiley. Kindle Edition.

5 things I’ve learned about course objectives

1. Design the course with the end in sight.

no end in sight... - It's PIER day!
no end in sight… – It’s PIER day! by Mecki Mac, on Flickr

2. Display the college’s course objectives the first day.

A Rough Introduction to Circuit Bending (Garnet Hertz, 2010) - General Directions and Objectives
A Rough Introduction to Circuit Bending (Garnet Hertz, 2010) – General Directions and Objectives by G A R N E T, on Flickr

3. Discover the students’ course objectives the first day.

"Before I Die I Want To..." KS Rives/Nicole Kenney
“Before I Die I Want To…” KS Rives/Nicole Kenney by Chicago Art Department, on Flickr

4. Don’t waste time on busywork unrelated to course objectives.

BusyWork( o
BusyWork( o by chrstphre ㋛ campbell, on Flickr

5. Assess students’ achievement of course objectives.

From "Here’s a Way to Make Your E-Learning Course Objectives Interesting" by Tom Kuhlmann
From “Here’s a Way to Make Your E-Learning Course Objectives Interesting” by Tom Kuhlmann

 

This project was completed for EDU250, Teaching in the Community Colleges. The assignment for this project was:

Using the sites that were provided in the eTech challenge, conduct a creative commons search for 5 images that are demonstrative of what you have learned so far in this class. Then use one of the tools that you have been exposed to so far in this class to display the images and any supporting information you would like to supply. If needed provide an overview of what you are conveying through your images in the your discussion board post and provide a link to your project.

Plans to instill critical thinking throughout an interpreting course

I co-created this with two other teachers as a group project in the Teaching Critical Thinking teacher symposium at VRSII.

Proposed Syllabus for Instilling Critical Thinking throughout a Course: Consecutive ASL-to-English Interpreting (adapted from UBD Lesson Planning Template)

By Daniel Greene, Doug Stringham, and Christia Williams, colleagues in VRSII Symposium for Teaching Critical Thinking

Desired Outcomes/Goals (After the course/lesson the student will be able to…)

Recognize, analyze, apply, and evaluate the use of critical thinking skills in consecutive interpreting from English to American Sign Language (ASL).

Essential Questions (Assumption Hunting)

  • What is the relationship between ASL skills and Interpreting skills?
    (A possible assumption may be that students assume ASL skills = interpreting skills; One must have native-like fluency in order to effectively interpret into ASL.)
  • How do my assumptions about the topic (pace, speaker, etc.) during brainstorming and prediction affect my performance during the work?
    (Possible assumptions may be that students fear certain topics or faster rates of speech, etc. and that will reduce the level of critical thinking during interpreting work.)
  • What does “evidence of processing” look like?
    (A possible assumption may be that students are unaware of observable behaviors present during processing; students may be unaware of the correlation between effective processing and interpreting product.)

Evidence (How will I know the student has achieved these outcomes?)

Performance Assessments
  • Consecutive interpreting product
  • Self-analysis of product with critical thinking reflection
Other Evidence
  • Journal Responses
  • Critical Incident Questionnaires (CIQs)
  • Informal Instructor Observations

Activities (How do I support the acquisition of the knowledge and skills above?)

According to Brookfield (2012), activities should be sequenced developmentally and represent the following categories: Social/Small Groups (S), Modeling (M), Concrete (C), Disorienting Dilemmas (DD)

Worked Problem Exercise (Beginning, M/C/S)
Related to cognitive load theory, worked problems have been shown to increase cognition and understanding of a given task. Instead of giving a novel or decontextualized setting or problem, allow students to view a prerecorded interpretation (e.g., what is the problem, show the process and solution) as well as interact with the problem. Before starting, lead a TAP (talk about/think aloud protocol) or ‘pre-brief’ (predictive assumptions review), produce an interpretation, and then debrief after the event. What assumptions did/do they have about the problem? Elicit observations or assumptions on their self-monitoring behaviors. Based on those assumptions, did they have the same ideas about the process and/or solution?
Rapid Text Exercise (Advanced, C/DD)
Using/Engineering a text that is rapid in pace but light in content (e.g. extra fillers, nonsemantic information, etc.), have students interpret the text. Film their interpretive work and then allow them to watch the work to how they react to the stress of the text. Allows students to self-monitor their reactions to the event.
Cold Text Exercise (Advanced, C)
Similar to the Rapid Text Exercise, have students cold-interpret a text. Film their interpretation and then allow them to watch their work to observe how they reacted to the stress of the text. Allows students to self-monitor their reactions to the event.
Back-translation Exercise (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced; S/C)
Can be adapted to meet the developmental needs of students at any level. Model with an anonymous interpreting sample (Beginner); invite a student to produce an interpretation (I1) and then allow another student to watch the interpretation in order to produce a derivative interpretation (I2) without sharing the results (Intermediate) or with peer debriefing (Advanced); finally, students back-translate their own interpretations. How equivalent are the two interpretations? Are there observable self-monitoring behaviors present?
Original Text Analysis Exercise (Beginning if working with someone else’s original text, Intermediate to Advanced if working with peer/self-generated texts; S/C)
Have students either produce an interpretation of or listen/take notes to an original text. Debrief on a comparison of their interpretation/notes and what the text actually contains. Were there discrepancies? How did students listen/not listen to the text? An adjunct critical thinking event might be to have a discussion about WPM: “how does a high WPM impact your assumptions? A low WPM? Is it possible that WPM is deceiving? WPM vs. units of meaning per minute?”
Discourse Mapping Exercise (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, depending on stimulus; S/C)
Lead students in a discourse mapping (Merithew, 2002) event. Before starting, lead a TAP (talk about/think aloud protocol) or ‘pre-brief’ (predictive assumptions review), watch the interpretation, create discourse maps (both in groups and/or individually), and then debrief after the event. What assumptions do they have about the interpretation? Based on those assumptions, what ideas presented/appeared (which do you prefer? I don’t know if resulted makes sense) in their maps? Did they observe any self-monitoring behaviors?

Additional Resources and References

Brookfield, S. D. (2012). Teaching for critical thinking. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Witter-Merithew, A. (2002). Understanding the meaning of texts and reinforcing foundation skills through discourse analysis. In Tapestry of Our Worlds: Proceedings of the 17th National Conference of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. Alexandria, VA: RID Publications.