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Subject:

Re: SI Example

From:

Jelaine McCamish <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 18 Apr 2000 07:15:55 PDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Thanks, Jeff. Coming from an English background, I can relate to this.
(It'd work well with computer tech people, also!)

Jelaine

>From: Jeff Vande Zande <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
><[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 09:05:30 -0400
>
>Hello,
>
> The following is a training exercise that I used in Supplemental
>Instruction training. It worked well, and I think it can translate to
>other tutor training situations.
>
> At Oakland University, we have SI in math, chemistry, accounting, and
>statistics. My own background is in English (and sound pedagogical
>practices). To help the SI Leaders understand the feelings of the students
>they are working with, I do the following.
>
>1. I have the SI leaders sit in a traditional classroom arrangement.
>Then, I give a twenty minute lecture on scanning lines of poetry. The
>overall theme of the lecture is that scanning poetry can help one
>understand meaning, but the specifics of the lecture focus on stressed and
>unstressed syllables and the names of metrical structures. Before I begin
>lecturing, I encourage the SI leaders to take notes.
>
>2. After I am finished with the lecture, I tell them there will be a test
>on Friday on which they will need to be able to scan poetry and show how it
>relates to meaning. (They all kind of laugh, mainly because they're so
>befuddled by the lecture.)
>
>3. I leave the room and come back in -- now playing the part of the SI
>Leader. I break them into groups, give them some lines of poetry, and tell
>them to work together to scan the lines. They laugh, but stop when they
>see that I am serious. It's fun to watch these otherwise cracker jack math
>and science students struggle with the material. They fidget, get angry,
>throw up their hands, shake their heads, say (loud enough for me to hear)
>how stupid the material is or how useless it is.
>
>After fifteen minutes, I have members from the group come to the board and
>scan the poetry for us. Some get it, but invariably they make mistakes,
>which others point out. They get more frustrated with mistakes (making
>claims like "I'm not an English major" or "I've never like poetry")
>
>Sometime during their rants I stop the room and say, "what you are feeling
>right now about poetry is exactly what many of your students in SI feel
>about calculus or chemistry or accounting." Many SI leaders told me that
>it really turned on a light for them. It helps the SI Leaders transcend
>their own attitude toward the subjects they assist with and see things
>through the students' eyes.
>
>I continue working with them in an SI Leader role, but I focus on helping
>them see that the scanning is simply the perfunctory step that leads to
>understanding the poem's meaning through scansion. Once we begin to look
>at the scanning that way, they begin to enjoy it more.
>
>For instance, in a line of poetry like this from John Dryden:
>
> The rest to some faint meaning make pretense, (perfect iambic
>pentameter)
> But Shadwell never deviates into sense. (not only is there no
>pattern to the stressed and unstressed syllables, but there is also an
>extra half foot)
>
> What Dryden does to illustrate Shadwell's senselessness is to use
>senseless meter in the line he uses to describe Shadwell. (Of course, I
>let the SI Leaders discover this by asking them, "How does the way Dryden
>wrote these two lines add to the meaning of the poem?" When they explain
>it to me and I praise them, they become interested and actually want to
>scan more poems).
>
> We spend some time at the end talking about what happened and how it
>can translate into their own SI sessions.
>
> I know not everyone would be comfortable scanning poetry, but you can
>do this with just about any aspect of your own discipline. The important
>thing is to take the SI Leaders/tutors out of their comfort zones -- which
>will help them transcend themselves when they begin to run their own SI
>sessions.
>
>Hope someone can use that,
>
>Jeff Vande Zande
>Tutor/SI Coordinator
>Oakland University

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