Teagle Fellowship Observation Plan

Grace is a PhD candidate in the Italian Department and is currently teaching in the LitHum program. On November 20, Cara will be attending Grace’s LitHum class, which is tentatively on the topic of The Book of Job. The seminar-style discussion will be focused on literary analysis of the text.

The class is designed to be a free-flowing discussion, with minimal instructor intervention, so that students can focus on the areas of the text that are of particular interest to them. The primary learning goals for the class are for students to cite specific passages from the text and to work collaboratively through discussion to build an argument about the text as a work of literature. The students should also be able to place this text in relation to texts they have read previously in the course. These goals reflect Grace’s teaching goals and philosophy more broadly: to teach students to carry out a critical discussion of literature using specific evidence from the texts. To step toward that goal, Grace will start by choosing a passage for students to interpret and then allow discussion to evolve from there.

There will be two primary modes of observation: videotape and classroom observation. Together, these observation tactics will enable Cara and Grace to measure how effective Grace has been in teaching her students to incorporate specific textual citations and to respond directly to each other’s comments. During the class, Cara will track the flow of conversation and the use of the text to get a qualitative feel for how effectively the learning goals are being implemented. There will also be a short student survey at the end of class to ask students to self-report the extent to which they feel they had ownership over class discussion; how they perceive their own engagement with the text and the participation of others; whether students feel they are able to talk when they want to; and whether there is any relationship between gender and frequency of participation. Then, using the video after the class, Cara will track the amount of time and frequency of student comments versus the instructor’s and will record which student comments use specific textual references and which do not. To measure this, we will count the number of comments that contain reference to the text versus those that do not. The goal Grace has set is that 75% of the comments should have specific textual references. For connectedness, Grace’s goal is that 90-100% of comments will be responses to a prior student’s comments. A comment that is considered “connected” will be one where the student responds directly to a prior point or explicitly transitions from one topic to a new topic. The third measure will be the ratio of time that Grace is talking to the time that students are talking. The goal is that Grace speaks no more that 15% of the time and for no more than 2 minutes at a time.

9/29: Initial Teagle Meeting
10/1: Grace and Cara discuss plan for teaching observation
10/6: Second Teagle Meeting
10/9: Grace and Cara meet to revise the teaching plan
11/20: Teaching Observation of Grace’s Class
10:50 Cara arrives at classroom; Set up video camera with David (tentatively)
11:00 class begins
11:05 end of beginning announcements and class discussion begins
12:00-12:05 break
12:05-12:50 class discussion
12:50 Cara and Grace meet briefly to discuss class and plan for video viewing
11/21: Meet to review video
12/8: Final Teagle Meeting of the Semester

Tables for Observation:
Comment references text?

Comment connected to prior?

Length of Talking Time

Sample Timeline of Who is Talking (Student vs. Grace):
1 min
2 min Student
2 min

Student Survey:
(circle one or write in a more exact estimation; comment on any question if you wish)

1. My comments in class reference a specific passage in the text to back up what I’m saying.

10% 25% 50% 75% 90% of the time

2. Other students’ comments in class reference specific passages to back up what they’re saying.

10% 25% 50% 75% 90% of the time

3. My comments in class are direct responses to something another student has said.

10% 25% 50% 75% 90% of the time

4. Other students’ comments are direct responses to something another student has said.

10% 25% 50% 75% 90% of the time

5. When I think of something I want to say, I end up actually saying it:

10% 25% 50% 75% 90% of the time

6. When I think of something I want to say and don’t end up saying it, it is because…

7. I am female male other