For better or for worse: redux

January 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

Writing out the synonyms horizontally on the whiteboard (rather than vertically, as I did on Thursday), exposure to the TILT tutorial, and working through the first activity together as a class helped immensely on Friday. I felt like this class grasped the whole OR-means-synonyms, AND-means-concepts connection a lot better.

However. Many of Friday’s students had trouble identifying what was important enough to be considered a keyword. (For example, one of the activity scenarios was, “You think your grandmother might have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. You want to find out what the symptoms are,” and many students included “grandmother” as one of the keywords.) I tried teasing the scenario out–“You want to make sure you’re only including vital information as your keywords, because otherwise you’ll artificially limit how many results you get”–but I’m not sure how much of this is in my power to correct, because when I asked them, “Do people other than the elderly usually get Alzheimer’s or dementia? Is including “grandmother” redundant?”, they said that yes, younger people DO get these diseases. Other than changing the question for next time, I’m not sure what else I can do with that lack of pre-existing knowledge in a field entirely outside my own.

Sort-of-unrelated teaching note:  I need to remember to wear clothes with pockets. I like to circulate among the class a lot (both to keep the attention of the students in the back of the room–which, I have to say, I do a great job at–and to provide one-on-one help to students who are too shy to bring class-wide attention to themselves by raising their hands to ask for help) and I need something to do with my arms/hands. I don’t like crossing them because that’s body language for all sorts of emotions/thoughts I’m not feeling and don’t intend to transmit, so sticking them in my pockets seems like the best alternative.

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For better or for worse… teaching information literacy, week 3 How to be a good teacher

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