M A I N * L I N K S

SUNY Fredonia
College of Arts and Humanities
AMST/ENGL 296: American Identities
Spring 2010
Section 1: TTh 8-9:20, Fenton 159
Office: Fenton 265; MF 9-11, 3-5, TTh 9:30-12, and by appointment; 673-3856
E-mail: simon@fredonia.edu, brucesimon18@yahoo.com
Web Page: www.fredonia.edu/department/english/simon/
ANGEL Space: https://fredonia.sln.suny.edu/default.asp

Team-Teaching Project, Spring 2010

What It Is

Each student is responsible for choosing a day and joining a team that will include individual 5-minute presentations of scholarly research that helps the class gain new perspectives on the readings for that day and helping plan and execute a 10-to-30-minute team-led guided discussion and/or activity period that focuses on the implications of those perspectives for the class's interpretations of the readings for that day. The goal for the individual presentations will be to find and present research that helps us understand the historical context and significance of the text(s) for that day. The goal for the team-led guided discussions and or activities will be to help the class connect the text(s) for that day to the present and explore their contemporary relevance.

By the second Monday after the conclusion of your discussion-leading day, each team member must email me a summary of the research you did (including a list of works consulted), an assessment of what you contributed to the success of the team (including how well its members worked together), and a reflection on what you learned by doing the project.

What For

It's a truism that you don't really learn something until you try to teach it to someone else, but there is nevertheless a good deal of truth to this cliche. Being responsible for teaching anything makes you pay a lot more attention when you're learning it, since you'll be in the position of sharing setting goals for the 30-50 minutes of class time that you'll be presenting your research and helping lead the ensuing discussion/activities. Given that you all are relative newcomers to this field, I thought students would better understand where the sources of confusion or frustration or curiosity in a particular reading might be than I might be able to, as well as how to communicate the key ideas and issues, perhaps even better than I would. Hence, you all have the opportunity to "peer teach" in a way that could well be more effective than my own teaching at times. At the very least, you all will be exposed to a variety of presentation and discussion-leading styles and, when teaching, have the opportunity to draw on what you feel are the most effective and appropriate teaching strategies for the material you all will be wrestling with.

As well, the process of narrowing down the range of sources you've consulted to the one you most want to present will develop valuable research and critical thinking skills.

How To

Your main goals are 1) to present research that you feel opens up new perspectives on the readings for that day, and 2) to help your classmates explore those perspectives through guided discussion and/or activities. You should have an opening, main, and closing question planned, along with any other comments or questions you might need to help get and keep discussion moving.

Each team should meet with me at least once before their team-teaching day comes around. We could either have a brainstorming session in which I give you an overview of how I see the readings fitting together and we brainstorm research and discussion topics together (in which case we should meet early enough for you to do the research and follow-up planning), or a feedback/consultation meeting in which I respond to what you've already come up vis a vis research, presentations, and discussion questions/activities.

Beyond that, I don't want to limit the creativity of your team's approach to running a portion of a class period by laying out a step-by-step approach on this page. So much is dependent on your individual interests and interpretations, your beliefs about the most effective modes of researching and discussion-leading, and the process by which you narrow down the many possible options down to your top one to three, that it's probably impossible to create such a list, anyway. But what I can do is offer some examples of kinds of things you might consider doing when running--or getting ready to run--a portion of the class period.

Grading Criteria

Your grade for this segment of the course will be based on a combination of factors: the quality of your individual research and presentation; the honesty and thoughtfulness and quality of writing of your follow-up email to me; my overall assessment of your contributions to your team's efforts and success; and my overall assessment of the team's planning, teaching, and commitment to working collaboratively.

M A I N * L I N K S

ENGL 296: American Identities, Spring 2010
Created: 2/15/10 5:15 pm
Last modified: 2/15/10 5:15 pm
Webmaster: Bruce Simon, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Fredonia
Feel free to explore the Spring 2009 and Spring 2006 version of this course! versions of this course.