This whole internship/mentor process has been really revealing to me. It has revealed, in part, a few of the difficulties that come with preaching to an occasionally deaf choir and also some of the rewards of leading debates and inspiring students. I am interning in a 130 Jumbo class and my particular section has about 12 students in it.
In the last two weeks, not everyone has shown up for either day and on both weeks I have met new students. I find this interesting just because when I took my labs when I was in my first two years of school (and undeclared) I never missed one. I was terrified because we were always doing something and I knew that I would immediately be behind and possibly affect my passing of the course if I missed it. No such fear exists within the freshmen we preside over, it would seem.
But about the strategies that my mentor seems to lead with when teaching the class… Jazmin does a great job of relating to the students, and getting to what I feel like is closer to ‘their level.’ Though I’m not entirely sure what I mean by this myself, I feel like its concept is implied and understood, probably, by most people reading this. She relates to how their day is going, she won’t hesitate to admit that the content is a little dry. But it does stop there sometimes and I’m left feeling ike we should be the ones who show excitement about the content were learing about. I thought the last article we had to read for our class, which was laden with links to cool technology and education articles from the last year, was phenomenal. But we sort of got stuck slugging through it as a class and taking most of the class to read it. Which is fine because the space is for close-up study of the 130 materials displayed before them but I wish we had have been able to elicit more excitement out of them. Jazmin does play music that the freshmen choose themselves when we do freewriting at the end of the period and I think that makes them feel more comfortable.
On the note of comfort, about half of the students seem to have read, understood, and thought about the materials they read in class and the other half not as much but they do all give Jazmin attention and laugh at her jokes and seem to be present in the classroom. I would personally consider this a huge victory in these early stages of the semester. I’m still in my early stages of observing my class and how jazmin teaches so I can’t say conclusively that I know anything about how anything is being done or how effectively, but it has been a pleasure to participate in the class and try my hand at some of the assignments the freshmen have had and to witness the learning process. Shoutout Jazmin, thanks for letting me be a part of your space!
I found reading Situated Learning by Lave & Wenger, and the research about differing examples of learning situations that exist in varying societies and cultures extremely interesting. Take the Yucatec midwives for example. The concept of free-based learning, or learning without any formal settings or teaching practices, was immediately striking to me because I could instantly think of so many examples of this type of learning. I mean, people who walk next to each other for multiple blocks tend to start synchronizing their steps unknowingly. A child will hear his parents talking about politics one time and is almost certain to regurgitate almost exact quotes at his elementary school. I just find it awesome how innate learning is. In all of the examples of apprenticeship I was enlightened because I feel like they all exist at many cases across cultures.
I really liked the concept or experience of the Vai and Gola tailors. They developed as society over time to create an apprenticeship program that took on a gradually growing formality. It all started as just learning informally from a same-sex parent, sort of like the Yuctec midwives, and then grew into children learning broad skills and eventually into learning directly from a specified master. Tailor shops even moved into commercial areas in order to distinguish the apprenticeship space from the home space. This is so interesting to me, the formalizing of a learning space, situating the learning.
What I really took from Lave & Wenger is that people learn, and people teach. It’s inherent, natural, and generally enjoyable. Children are attracted to knowledge and that retention transforms, as those children grow into adults, into a life of random know-hows and habits. And when we put those learners into a room with a teacher, yes there may be obstacles that they encounter in the formal situation but we are naturally inclined to study new things and apply skills. And that knowledge helps me going forward, because even if I hit a brick wall I know I can watch someone build a ladder, copy them, and get over it.
Hello! My name’s Lee Verrall, and I’m a junior here at Chico. My major is English Studies and I declared that about a year ago. I hail from the East Bay area, Pleasant Hill if anyone is familiar. I took this class on a recommendation from Dr. Jaxon and I’m really excited to get to do some hands on teaching, or at least watch someone else do it close up. The ideas and strategy behind teaching have always really interested me so I suppose that’s one of the things I’m most excited to learn and take away from this class.
A section from Wenger I found intriguing was under “Intellectual Context.” It reads:
“Theories of situated experience give primacy to the dynamics of everyday
existence, improvisation, coordination, and interactional choreography.
They emphasize agency and intentions. They mostly address
the interactive relations of people with their environment.
They focus on the experience and the local construction of individual
or interpersonal events such as activities and conversations. The
most extreme of them ignore structure writ large altogether”
I think what this is saying is that learning occurs everywhere that there is life communicating. It doesn’t have to be in a classroom or even as known learning, but we are fundamentally data collectors and when we function around others we share data and try to make sense of what is shared with us.