March 07, 2013
Mentor: Rachel N. Spear
The overall structure focused on discussing chapters within Love in the Time of Cholera . Allen opened the class reminding the students about their essay and asking if they had any questions. Allen took students through a list of discussion questions, and the structure of the class revolved around this list, which he gave me at the start of class. Some of these questions included comparison of characters and relationship with other characters as well as an interrogation of love and kinds of love. Retention questions proved effective and allowed students to show that they had done the reading. However, more analysis and more reference to passages and more use of literary terms would be beneficial.
Students’ responses to this particular class were decent, although not as many were as involved as I would have liked to have seen. There were about 27 students, and the same handful replied. These students were active participants. While students listened, their involvement could have been more engaged. Some suggestions to assist in this include the following: stress to take notes, to get out books, to not be on electronics. Involving them (writing notes or even coming up with the discussion questions) will wake them up at 8am while enhance their critical and analysis skills. Think of activities you could do with the passages. Have them find certain textual evidence, etc. Do not rely solely on discussion – as students will often allow the same “talkers” to carry the conversation.
Allen’s delivery of the material, like last semester, is professional. While his rapport is approachable, the delivery of the material could and should move beyond sole discussion. This may not be typical in every class, but varying up and having multiple activities will invite student involvement more. Some suggestions for future classes might include the following: begin with a handout with some questions on it, or pair students up and have them compare two characters (finding textual support), start class off with a freewrite, etc. Ultimately, aim to have students find passages and to take notes – also, try to write key terms/characters/passage pages on the board. This act reminds students to take notes. Overall, Allen did a nice job for a challenging time (8am), and I admire his desire to improve his teaching. There was no reason for me to observe him this semester; however, he specifically wanted feedback on how to involve students more. Again, his desire to improve his teaching speaks volumes.