Sandy Jones: Assistant Professor/Reading firstname.lastname@example.org Cheryl Scott: Assistant Professor/English email@example.com The Community College of Baltimore County
What is a Learning Community? Any of one of a variety of curricular structures that link together several existing courses or restructure curricular material so that students have opportunities for deeper understanding and integration of the material they are learning and more interaction with one another and their teachers as fellow participants in the learning enterprise. (From: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 41, Spring 1990)
Purpose The purpose of CCBCs Learning Communities Program is to offer students a more integrated learning experience by providing greater curricular coherence and by increasing collaboration of students and faculty in the pursuit of learning. Students are provided with an enriched and supportive learning experience.
CCBCs Learning Communities: Quick Facts 50 plus learning communities a year, including general education, developmental education, ESOL, and Honors. Developmental learning communities pair RDNG 052 with an introductory or general education course such as PSYC 101, SPCM 101, HLTH 101, HIST 116, SOCL 101, CRJU 101, and ENGL 101. Some communities pair developmental reading 051 and 052 with developmental English 051 and 052. Our LC is new and pairs RDNG 052 with ENGL 101.
Characteristics of CCBCs Program Characteristics of CCBCs Program Offer students an integrated learning experience, including the use of integrative assignments and syllabi. Help students understand the relationship between different subjects and disciplines. Provide opportunities for students to think critically and analytically. Encourage students to be personally accountable for learning. Provide students with an enriched and supportive learning experience as they form close bonds with faculty and peers. Provide opportunities for students to work collaboratively with others.
Why Offer Learning Communities for Developmental Learners? The most logical goal for college reading and learning programs would be to teach students a repertoire of strategies and tactics that will prepare them for the tasks and texts they encounter in college. (Stahl, Simpson, & Hayes, 1992)
Benefits of Developmental Learning Communities Provides content validity. Transfers skills with authentic assignments. Views students as efficacious, not deficient in intelligence or skills. Encourages student ownership of learning. Accelerates entry into credit courses.
Contextualizing Through a Developmental Learning Community (RDNG 052/ENGL101 ) Pairs a developmental course (RDNG 052) with a general education credit course (ENGL 101). Utilizes content of the credit course for skill development within the developmental course. Assists students with connecting their learning across courses and disciplines. Uses integrative assignments, materials, and class activities to assist with that connection.
Strategies for Integration Our L.C. Created common theme of Culture Designed integrative assignments that met both course objectives. Created syllabus to reflect connections between the courses and course content. Used fiction and nonfiction Visited each others classes periodically to observe or participate in class activities. Communicated weekly with each other on student behaviors and progress. Met with each student for midterm conferences as a team. Participated in research efforts.
READING 052 AND ENGLISH 101 LEARNING COMMUNITY
THE PROBLEM Each Fall at CCBC some students test into English 101 on the Accuplacer, but do not test out of Reading 052. These students cannot take their English because they have not met the Reading prerequisite. These students have difficulty building a full schedule (12-15 hours). In addition, in the traditional Reading 052 classes, they can be bored and frustrated with work they think of as busy work. Some of these competent students even drop out in frustration.
A SOLUTION A learning community which will consist of English 101 and Reading 052. This will accelerate these students since Reading 052 is a prerequisite for English 101. Culture will be the theme Many assignments will be integrated. The Reading Lab will be used to integrate not only cultural concepts but also English skills. Teachers will attend one half of the sessions of the other class.
RESULTS Acceleration - 50% of our Reading 052 students passed English 101 (over 2 semesters) Culture theme students reported learning new perspectives about themselves and the world. Integrated assignments were essential to success. English 101 assignments were first introduced and discussed in the Reading class at a comprehension level before the students had to deal with them at an analysis and synthesis level in English 101.
RESULTS Reading Lab enabled students to build important background information, and work with the new cultural concepts. Class visits- enabled both teachers to integrate the concepts and to follow student progress
RESULTS FALL 2010 Total # students # Passed% passed Reading 0521,466956 70.7% Reading 052 LC 1311 84.6% SPRING 2011 English 101 (who took Reading 052 in Spring 2010) 522 (28% of the original 1466) 322 (22% of the original 1466) 22% FALL 2010 English 101 LC137 53%
RESULTS SPRING 2011 Total # students # Passed% passed English 05288355062% Reading 052 LC 171164.7% English 101 LC 17847%
STEP 1. M&Ms culture game
RED : Personal/Self Expression Interests/hobbies/sports YELLOW : Ethnic/racial backgrounds GREEN : Family BROWN: Community ORANGE: Work/School BLUE: Spiritual
According to E. Hollins, Personalizing culture refers to a process of deep introspection that reveals the centrality of culture in your own life. In order to assist students in exploring their own culture in order to appreciate the different cultures of their classmates, we created an integrative Culture assignment.
STEP 2 - A Lesson on Culture (Patricia Quintero- Hall, D.P.A.) was given to the learning community students. We asked students to think about what cultures they have been exposed to throughout their lives, and what effect they have had on the person they now are. We introduced 5 aspects of culture and shared our stories first. Students then shared their own cultural backgrounds.
STEP 3 Discussion about culture, differences, understanding what effects your own experience has had on you, your values, and your perceptions will follow. Emphasis was placed on appreciating the culture of others.
STEP 4 Students read No Name Woman, an autobiography by Maxine Hong Kingston. Hong-Kingston uses the art of storytelling to impress on her readers the characteristics of her Chinese culture and how it has affected her own identity as a woman of Chinese background growing up in a very American culture.
What is Culture ? By Sandra Jones
How would you define culture? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Think about different things that you think make up an individuals culture 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Adlers 5 dimensions of culture 1. Family includes your immediate family growing up, relatives, close 2. Work/School 3. Community 4. Personal (self) 5. Spiritual life includes religious, and spiritual activities, but also includes things you are passionate about (ex: nature, poetry, animals, music)
My Culture Family Work/schoo l Comnmunit y PersonalSpiritual
Complete the Your Culture handout Directions: Reflect on your culture and the cultures you have been exposed to and write down the specific features of those cultures.
No Name Woman Chinese Culture Family Work/schoo l Comnmunit y PersonalSpiritual
What aspects of Chinese culture do you find in No Name Woman? 1. Family strong family bonds 2. Work/School school was very important, in one school the experienced discrimination 3. Community strong community ties, agricultural, community more important than individual 4. Personal (self)- group identity 5. Spiritual lifestrong ethical values, pride
STEP 5 Students interviewed family members, gathering as much information as they can about their cultural heritage. Artifacts such as pictures, year books, letters, can be gathered.
STEP 6 Students wrote an ethnic autobiography, discussing their heritage, ethnic identity(ies), and how ethnic identity has been transmitted and passed down through generations
Student Comments This is the only class that I know everyones name. It helps me to feel comfortable to talk about my work. The culture theme was very helpful and it was very interesting. It did cause me to think about the different cultures around the world. I liked having the two classes cover the same readings. That way I could really understand it before I had to write about it in English class. I thought it was good to explore other cultures instead of ones (sic.) that I know about. Keep up with the culture theme.
How this LC has Benefitted Us Developed self-awareness of teaching. Placed more attention on delivery systems. Used more collaborative learning techniques. Developed more compassion for students. Developed better listening skills. Became more flexible teachers. Gave students more responsibility for learning.
Future We are planning to add a global citizenship research project. Students will choose a culture that they have read about and do research to compare it with their own in several areas: family structure, role of religion, cultural mores, political factors, etc. They will write a research paper and prepare a presentation using PowerPoint or Glogster. We plan to apply to be the first globally intensive Reading and English L.C. Students may choose to take 15 courses designated as globally intensive to receive a program of Global Distinction designation on their transcript.
References Gabelnick, F., MacGregor, J., Matthews, R.S., and Smith, B.L. (Eds). (1990). Learning communities: creating connections among students, faculty, and disciplines. (New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No. 41). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Stahl, M., L. Simpson, and C.G. Hayes (1992). Ten Recommendations from Research for Teaching High-Risk College Students. Journal of Developmental Education. Volume 16, Issue 1, Fall Issue. Tinto, V. Goodsell-Love, A. and Russo, P (1994). Building learning communities for new college students. State College, PA: The Pennsylvania State University National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.
Questions? Sandra Jones, Assistant Professor/Reading: sjones @ccbcmd.edu Cheryl Scott, Assistant Professor/English and Learning Community Coordinator/Essex campus: Cscott2 @ccbcmd.edu