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Graduate Teacher: CDM Date: February 25, 2010
Consultants: ED, Erin Stapleton-Corcoran
Attendance: 16 students ( 8 female, 8 male)
Setting (Type of room, seating, lighting, etc.): Cobb 110 is a room with a square of tables in the
center. Blackboards were located on the walls, and a television was located above the boards in the
front left corner of the room.
Summary: In this class session Celeste discussed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Dawes Act and a
work of Ida B. Wells. The class consisted of a discussion of three readings, with Celeste leading the
discussion by posing and answering questions. The students seemed interested, but not all of them
participated actively. Our two main suggestions are to provide a clearer agenda and encourage more
student-to-student interaction.


1. Celeste began class by giving a short summary

of previous sessions and pointing out how the
current class session fitted into the picture.

We thought it was great that you first provided a

summary, which reminded students of the important
points of last weeks class session. Students often
can lose the big picture of the ideas in a course, and
connecting the ideas of this lecture with the
previous one can help your students organize the
course information.
We liked that you frequently related new material to
what the students already knew. Students learn most
effectively when they can build on something with
which they are already familiar, and you did a great
job of reminding your students how much they
already understood about the new material.

2. Celeste did not use the blackboard during this

class session.

The blackboard is a very effective toolboth for

structuring a class session and for emphasizing key
points and concepts throughout the session.
It would have been helpful to start off by reviewing
the days agenda and write it on the blackboard. A
written agenda helps students to keep track of what
is going on in the class, where a discussion is
leading, and to keep focused. It also gives students
a better idea of what they should take away from
the session.
It is often useful to leave the agenda on the board
for the students reference throughout the entire
class. You may choose to direct the students back to
this agenda throughout the class session.
In your goals for this consultation, you expressed an
interest in adopting techniques that assured you that
students were involved and fully engaged during
the discussion. Writing key words (e.g.
neutralization) or questions on the board as they
ariseeither by students or yourselfwill help

3. CM opened up questions and discussion points

to all (e.g. Dawes Act: good interpretation but what
do others think?).

your students follow the discussion and also help

you stay on track with your learning objectives and
goals. If a discussion goes astray of the main points,
this technique also provides a good method to steer
the class back to the main points/questions.
We think you did a very good job in moderating the
discussion and you were able to keep the discussion
going the whole time. You were navigating the
students through the discussion by asking leading
questions. Your non-verbal demeanor (eye contact,
affirmative head nods, etc) was right on track, and
students seemed comfortable to freely express their
comments and concerns.

At one point you almost answered a question you

had posed, but instead you backed up and posed a
further probing question.

We commend you on this teaching moment, for you

kept the students engaged in their own learning, by
having the patience to hold back your answer,
rephrase the question and wait untill they figured
the answer out on their own.

4. Three students dominated the class discussion.

Some students contributed regularly. Three did not
participate at all.

Although all but three students spoke up and

commented during the discussion, there was a
handful of students who spoke up most frequently,
and one student who was incredibly eager to
participate (sometimes verging on dominating the
conversation). We noticed that the students sitting
directly next to youparticularly 3 of the female
students seated directly to your leftdid not speak
up or comment at all. Perhaps coincidentally, these
students were the ones with which you did not
make much eye contact. We noticed that these three
female students were much more concerned with
taking notes than participating in the discussion.
In general, we believe that you could increase
students learning by encouraging everybody to
participate in class more actively. In order to do
this, you could have students break into small
groups to discuss student questions and statements
(perhaps based on comments or small assignments
submitted on chalk for example). This approach
encourages students to talk to one another (instead
of you) and gives quieter students the opportunity to
formulate their thoughts in a more secure setting.

4. The students were very engaged with class

Another helpful way to get all students involved is

to split them into groups, provide them with a
relevant text and specific questions and ask them to
discuss as a group first and then to present their
thoughts to the class. You can provide every group
with the same text and questions or with different
Maintaining a discussion without a change or break

discussion at the onset of the session. However,

their attention appeared to lag towards the end of
the class session. It appeared that students did not
take many notes during this session.

in activities for an entire class session can challenge

the attention span of the most attentive students. As
well as enriching and enhancing students learning,
the above-discussed small group activities also can
function to break the class session into smaller
sections, thereby keeping students focused and
engaged for the duration.
This is to your discretion, but you might want to
consider changing the type of activities you engage
in every 20 minutes or so.

5. In the end, CM summarized the main points

covered in the three readings and the discussion
with ensued.

We think it was great that you ended the session

with a summary of the most important points of all
three readings, how they relate to each other and to
key points you had discussed in previous sessions.
By pointing out the key ideas your students had a
clearer understanding of what to take away from
this class. It also helped them to sort their thoughts
and structure information.
You might also want to ask students themselves to
summarize the main points of the class rather than
provide this summary yourself. This would provide
you important information on whether the students
understood the materials discussed. It also forces
the students to stay alert and engaged to the end of
the session.