Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cluster Grouping - Gifted Education

In Cluster Grouping - Gifted Education Carolyn Chambers Clark askes "Don't We Need Gifted Students in All Classes So They Can Help Others Learn Through Cooperative Learning, Peer Tutoring, and Other Collaborative Models?"

Clark continues: "When gifted students are placed in mixed-ability groups for cooperative learning, they frequently become tutors. Other students in these groups may rely on the gifted to do most of the work and may actually learn less than when the gifted students are not in their groups. When gifted students work in their own cooperative learning groups from time to time on appropriately challenging tasks, they are more likely to develop positive attitudes about cooperative learning. At the same time, other students learn to become more active learners because they are not able to rely so heavily on the gifted students. When the learning task focuses on content some students already know, those students should be learning how to cooperate in their own groups on extension tasks that are difficult enough to require cooperation. When the cooperative task is open-ended and requires critical or divergent thinking, it is acceptable to include the gifted students in heterogeneous cooperative learning groups."

WAC and the Writing Center

The Montgommery Advertiser reports that "College educators like Dacus have noted that high school graduates increasingly are unprepared for the college classroom. To that end, ASU [Alabama State Univeristy] already has a writing center that helps students improve their writing skills through tutoring, computer programs and group lab sessions. Writing Across the Curriculum will enhance those efforts, Dacus said, adding ASU wants to be known as a 'writing university.'"

Summer Institute Photos/Round-up


Photos

I've posted some pictures from the 2005 Summer Institute here. Institute attendee Susan Mueller has posted some here.
Peer Tutoring Issues

While the Institute is generally aimed at issues for writing center directors/professionals, we did focus on several issues relevant to peer tutoring. Carol Severino and I lead a discussion of developing staff education curriculum. Even though staff at writing centers are more broadly-based than just peer tutors, we had participants consider more fully the needs of their audience in regards to staff education. This, of course, differed markedly from peer tutors to, say, faculty tutors, and we discussed approaches and methodologies that could be used for each group.

Frankie Condon and Harry Denny then discussed on-going staff education emphasizing the need for an activist agenda in the WC. Michael Pemberton and Carol Severino later discussed writing fellows programs, and, finally, we heard from a group of KU tutors who discussed their perceptions of writing center work.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Busy!

The busy nature of the SI made it nearly impossible for me to keep up regular posting, and now I come back to several problems to solve. I hope to write up a SI summary soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Summer Institute--Day one

1) Anne Geller and Michael Pemberton lead us this morning this morning in a chance to share our writing center designs. Folks had some great posters showing what their writing centers looked like. I was feeling a bit artsy so I made an iMovie. I didn’t like it in the long run since it lacked a coherence that the others had with their elaborate pictures and plans. My theme, if you will, was making the writing center a space for us all. I used Ben Harper’s “Fight for you Mind” as the sound track.
2) Beth Boquet and Ben Rafoth next gave the group a primer on writing center theory.
3) Carol Severino and I then lead the group in a discussion of development of curriculum for staff education. It is a big subject and Carol and I decided that we should focus on needs assessment of the audience. We let the groups discuss the various issues of whom they were training. There was some amount of resistance to separating by difference. I can see why, but I think it is important to focus on difference in order to determine what the education needs are for our writing center staff. I wish we had more time to talk about methodologies one could employ for training. We probably should have cut down the discussion a bit, but then the great ideas people had would not have been expressed. Hmm. Anyway the idea is that we provided a place to start from. Maybe we should have conducted more of a round table to talk about curriculum issues and ways of helping folks to learn about WC work.
4) We’re writing now. I started brainstorming about the piece I want to create about CC writing centers. It is slow going. I’m not even sure what questions to ask at this point, realy.
5) There were various SIGS last night, and folks are getting used to long days of WC conversation in July.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pre-Institute Workshop

The Pre-Institute Workshop was designed for folks who are very new to writing center. Anne and Michele planned an interactive session which combined a sort of mixer with exploratory writing. Basically the attendees got to share their most important questions and then interview us group leaders to discover answers. This was also our opportunity as leaders to see where folks were coming from and allow us to start pulling threads together for the conference. Most folks were interested in publicity, training, and theory.

Tonight we're having the openning BBQ in the Bob Dole Political Institute.

Writing Center Summer Institute

So here I am in Lawrence, Kansas waiting in the lobbby of the Holiday Inn (I'll be moving to the much more historic and apparantly haunted Eldridge Hotel this afternoon) with Michael Pemberton, Harry Denny, and Ben Rafoth--"the guys" as Michele Eodice calls us. Michael and I are absorbed in your computers (me typing this, Michael reading something attentively) and Harry and Ben are discussing one of the sessions they will be leading.

I had a long trip in from Salt Lake City: my plane was delayed and eventually cancelled because of bad weather over Denver. Luckilly my airline could get me on another flight directly to Kansas City. I arrived at 1:30 am. Not bad, but not exactly the height of the social hour and all food service at said Holiday Inn was closed. I spent a hungry night reading.

Today we meet as institute leaders and then have a social with the participants.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

IWCA Summer Institude

I'm headed out for the IWCA Summer Institute in a couple of days. I am hoping to have a slew of posts from there, and, I hope, some extra-special guest bloggers.

Hopefully this will also jar me to get off my PeerCentered vacation and post some entries. (Ah summer!)