Science in Society

Bryn Mawr College

Grad Idea Forum

6 May 2003
Teaching Seminar Discussion

Additions, revisions, extensions are encouraged in the Forum.

The following is a summary of what we talked about for an ongoing teaching exploration workshop. After putting this all down it really felt like we'd accomplished a lot yesterday. Please edit/add anything, including to the resources list. I will also attach the document here in word, so that you can edit directly on it. If so, I suggest using the "track changes" feature so we can see all the changes.

Our interest in talking about and sharing our experiences teaching and learning both on a philosophical and practical level have led us to design an ongoing format where we can explore the why, what and how of teaching. There are several models that we drew suggestions from: The Science and Society Graduate Idea Forum (where together we developed this idea); The GSA Committee of Pedagogy and Professional Training Workshops from 1999 (year?); Liz McCormack's GSEM 618 Class, Xenia's experience at Cornell. Based on our collective experience with these other models, we recognized the features that are important to us in planning a workshop:

1. Participants should be committed to participating in the full series to help create an ongoing dialogue that links one meeting to the next. This will also facilitate the creation of a group that can serve networking and support functions, and build the trust necessary for candid discussions.

2. A day-long "kickoff" meeting should start the series. This would give us an opportunity to get to know each other and build commitment to the series from the start. It will also allow us to explore some issues in depth so that the shorter discussions are also more in-depth. This workshop would have an outside speaker addressing the plenary; smaller breakout group meetings; and some time to socialize. It would be useful at these meeting to also hand out something in writing that would include helpful, practical information (a la the handbook that Xenia mentioned that they used at Cornell).

3. Monthly meetings would follow this first meeting, each approximately 2 hours in length, except for the January meeting (between semesters) would also be longer. (And perhaps a May wrap-up?). We discussed alternating late afternoon (4-6) times with lunch meetings (12-2).

4. The readings and topics for discussions, including speakers, would be planned in advance and participants would be expect to come to the discussions prepared to talk about the readings and share from their own personal experiences.

5. It is important to all of us that the discussions address philosophical and theoretical questions as well as practical issues, but rather than separating them, we would like to tie these together. We are interested in exploring why we teach, what we teach and how we teach, and to understand how these questions and the answers to them are mutually influential.

6. The topics would be chosen around particular reading selections (below is a list of possibilities we discussed). The substantive questions that we want to discuss (i.e. assessment, how people learn, the feeling of "fraud" we sometimes experience, and collaborative learning) will flow from this. (of course the reading choices are influenced by our substantive interests…)

7. Collaborative and open discussions will be encouraged. We would like to invite outside speakers, preferably authors of our reading selections, to every other meeting. These speakers will be encouraged to allow for ample discussion time in their presentations. We will try to combine these with on-campus visits in order to minimize costs and increase the draw for these lecturers.

8. Interdisciplinary cross-fertilization is fruitful, and to this end we seek to involve all Bryn Mawr schools. To help attract Arts and Sciences folks and make the workshop more relevant for them, we will reach out to students and faculty in arts and sciences, and specifically in the education department to help in the planning process.

9. We will try to address specific disciplinary issues to keep things relevant while at the same time concentrating on bigger or broader questions that are shared, and learning from the different teaching styles and methods in the different disciplines. Where appropriate, and depending on the number of participants) we might at times break into smaller groups to help address specific disciplinary interests.

10. The possibility of obtaining a Dean's Certificate might help to draw more people into the program, help secure ongoing commitment, and help enhance the resume of those people who will be looking for jobs. The Certificate also gives us incentive to think about what unique contribution the "Bryn Mawr teaching style" provides.

Some issues to think about further were:

Recruiting- how many people would this get, wanting to appeal to all BM graduate schools without having this feel too large.
Time commitment, particularly with hectic teaching schedules.
Involving new faculty, possible from all Tri-Co

Division of labor thus far:

Anne Dalke said that she would contact people in the Education Department.
Liz McCormack said that she would investigate the possibility of reviving the Dean's Certificate (after we had some of our proposal down in writing).
Liz Shea will contact people at Arts and Sciences.
Corey Shdaimah put together this summary.

Readings on our wish list:

Peggy MacIntosh, Feeling Like a Fraud
Catherine Stimpson, General Education for Graduate Education
Women's Ways of Knowing and research building from that
Anne Dalke, Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach
Paper that Anne Dalke, Liz McCormack and Paul Grobstein are working on
Paul Grobstein, A Vision of Science (and Science Education) in the 21st Century: Everybody "Getting It Less Wrong" Together
Alison, Elliot Shore and Catherine Rowe's- Finding the Biases in a Community of Scholars
Something by Victory Dunay
Jane Tompkins, A Life in School
Paulo Freire- (which?)
Jerome Brumer (what?)
Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences
Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach
Sharon Welch, We Mistake Control
Materials from education research
Reading to address different teaching styles

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