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What a great idea; of course not everyone will be comfortable scanning poetry but I,
for instance, would be comfortable teaching some Spanish.  I am sure that the outcome
would be the same.
I have used a similar idea only I ask the students to think about what they did/would
do
to learn "X" subject.  It must be one that is not in the area they tutor.  We then
have a round robin discussion of different learning styles and techniques that work.
The tutors seem to enjoy the discussion and take a very active part.
Mid way through the semester I hold a follow up session and ask for "stories form the
trenches"  this provides for a lively and informative exchange of ideas.
Regina

Jeff Vande Zande wrote:

> 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