Before I start this new book a couple of comments about the weekend.

In America they had Thanksgiving. My favourite comment about this for this year is here.

In Australia we had an election. My favourite comment about this is here.

Marking almost over – 1 or 2 papers to go.

And now to the book MaryEllen Weimer’s Learner Centred Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice

Weimer’s Preface gives us a feel for the book as a whole and identifies the structure of the book, as well as giving us insight into her own journey.  I found this very helpful as she tells me up front what the changes she proposes are and that in the first chapter why she has decided on these.

Chapter One is the journey.  There is  a great line on page 3, “I had redesigned my course; afterward, I attempted to redesign the teacher.  Getting the course reshaped turned out to be much easier than fixing my very teacher-centered instruction.”  I think this is where I am at presently.  I have been asked to propose a unit to teach at a Masters level in another Bible College.  I want more of a sense from the students as to what they want.  I realise I want to call the course “Priesthood and Prophethood, Clergy and Laity, Structure and Spirit, Church and World: Practices for Pentecostals”.  The problem is that is toooooo long a title.  I will solve this by clarifying to myself what I want the students to know and learn but I will want some feedback.

The chapter ends with Weimer giving further discussion as to what it means to change in five practices.

The first practice discussed in chapter 2 is the Balance of Power.  The idea is to let students decide what they want to learn, how they want to learn when they want to learn. I tried some of this in one of my classes this year.  It helped somewhat but not enough for my liking.   The flexibility of what was proposed is also a sticking point for me as we are stuck with pro-forma as to our teaching and creative teaching in what is skills based seems important to me but possibly not to the bureaucracy which accredits us.  What is nice is a comment that Weimer makes having considered a points system like I have in the past.  “The assignments are not mastery based, in the sense that those who complete them get the credit.  Each assignment is graded against specific criteria, and to have any assignment count, the student must earn at least 50 percent of the points.”  I need to develop criteria that help do this so I can do this in future.  Mind you as I only read the Introduction to Rubrics book recently I have come a long way this year.

Finally what does this mean for me?  My hermeneutics unit will be undergoing lots of changes again.  I am now happy with the material and the textbook just not the order or mode of presentation.  I will have the students select the New Testament book we study in class (except Ephesians).  The assessment will need lots of changes but I think I know how I want to go.

Pray for me.

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