Teagle Observation Plan, Spring 2015
Class: HISTW4414 “Modern American Indian Social and Political History”
Observation Date: 03.31.2015 & 04.07.2015
Instructor: Maria John
Observer: Kat Brewer

Maria is teaching an undergraduate seminar course that she has developed on Modern American Indian Social and Political History. The course is designed as an intensive discussion seminar organized around student-driven learning. Each week, students complete a Courseworks posting on the assigned readings consisting of a response/commentary and proposed discussion questions. These questions form an important basis of in-class discussion.

Kat will be observing Maria's class twice:

The two sessions are structured slightly differently to allow for comparative observation. Both center on student led discussion of the assigned readings, but with varying levels of direction from Maria.

In the first session (03.31) Maria will be setting the agenda for the discussion. In the second session (04.07) two students will be responsible for leading discussion for the first 20 minutes of class. Each class is 110mins.

1. Defining and tracking learning goals
  • Instructor's learning goal for the evaluated class session or assignment
    1. PRIMARY GOAL: the students will be able to take ownership over the direction of class discussion and their own learning.
    2. SECONDARY GOAL: The students will be able to form thematic links between different forms of “text” (primary sources, secondary readings, film) and offer discussion points/comments that connect these different sources.

  • At least one way that this learning goal is helping the instructor define his or her teaching
    1. PRIMARY GOAL: To what extent does Maria’s teaching allow for “student-driven learning” and “student ownership” of the learning process?
    2. SECONDARY GOAL: To what extent is Maria able to teach from different ‘sources’?

  • Instructor's vision of how students will step towards that goal
    1. PRIMARY GOAL: Students will set the agenda/main topic for discussion without too much interference or guidance from the instructor.
    2. PRIMARY GOAL: When asked, the students will feel confident offering a view/perspective on the main issues in question (both specific and broad questions related to the weekly topic).
    3. PRIMARY GOAL: Students demonstrate investment/ownership in their learning via thematic continuity in written work, courseworks postings, and comments in class.
    4. SECONDARY GOAL: In spoken comments/written exercises students will actively draw connections between different sources.

  • Observer's understanding of what exactly he or she is tracking
    Kat will be observing Maria’s class on March 31st and April 7th. During class Kat will be tracking both the PRIMARY GOAL (the extent to which student ownership of the learning process is evidenced through the conversation & courseworks postings) and the SECONDARY GOAL (the extent to which students are able to learn from different sources). Ownership and learning from different sources are conceptualized along the following dimensions:
    1. Individually students are developing a running theme across their assignments and questions that indicate a depth of interest.
    2. The quality of student questions demonstrate that they have read the assigned materials at an appropriate depth as evidenced by: giving specific examples from texts, giving page refs, mentioning specific names and/or dates (events, people, places) from the reading, using the 'language' of the text (i.e. refers to specific ideas/theses/themes/theoretical frameworks from the texts).
    3. Students are engaged in the material to such a degree that they are willing to voice differing opinions.
    4. Students take active control of the discussion through both posing questions and redirecting the discussion.

  • Observer's understanding of how the tracked session or assignment will be measured
    During each session, Kat will track the dimensions above using an observation tool developed for this purpose. Students will be given a number that will be placed in front of them so that Kat can more easily track responses; students will reuse the same number in the subsequent session so that their behavior can be compared across classes.

2015 TEAGLE observation template _ rev.docx

2. Timeline

3/1: Create initial draft of observation tool to be used during class
3/10: Kat and Maria touch base reon observation tool
3/23: Maria will talk to the students about the Teagle Program and let them know that Kat will be observing class on 3/31 & 4/7.
3/27: Finalize observation tool; Maria to provide Kat a list of specific concepts to track
3/31: 1st observation of Maria’s class
  • 10:30 Arrive at Brownies Café in Fayerweather Hall to meet Maria and address any outstanding concerns
  • 11:00 Class begins. Maria will introduce me to the class; throughout the class Kat will sit at an end of the table that allows her to clearly see which students are speaking. Maria will actively lead the class discussion.
  • 12:50 Class ends
4/7: 2nd observation of Maria’s class
  • 10:30 Arrive at Brownies Café in Fayerweather Hall to meet Maria and address any outstanding concerns
  • 11:00 Class begins. The assigned student discussion leaders will lead the class discussion for the first 15-20 minutes.
  • 12:50 Class ends
4/10: Kat and Maria meet to debrief