Friday, August 31, 2007
I just re-read this book, and wonder if her idea of an "empathy" gene which mutated and got passed along to most of the population as damaged, could be close to the truth. Why are there only a minority of people who look for and understand the point of the view of others? Why do there seem to be so many people who can do harm to others without seeming to care or understand? And her idea about finding the gene through mapping, repairing it, and then spreading it to the world's population via a cold-like virus...marvelous as long as it was for good but scary since it could so easily be used for evil!
So what does it mean to be obedient? To listen for that still, small voice, to discern the message, to act on that knowledge? If we could only agree on what is "good," or when that voice truly comes from God and the message is meant to be acted upon, and our interpretation valid. If only we were more able to listen openly to those with whom we regularly disagree and take their viewpoints into consideration...REALLY take them into our hearts for discernment!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This morning I attended our
Colleges should be ranked on: meaningful general education, good pedagogical practices, high student engagement, and quality learning.
Joy comes from the things that are important to us, and from the feeling that we did them well.
Is what we’re doing as college teachers important?
- the new world economy is highly knowledge-intensive—we have to keep learning or we fall behind.
- the global problems get worse unless our students (or graduates) work on solving them.
How well are we doing in higher education?
- employers say that our graduates can’t solve problems, work with diverse co-workers, or work collaboratively in small groups
- the National Study of Adult Literacy reports that 2/3 of college graduates are functionally illiterate
- data from the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) can be interpreted to mean that seniors are not reading, analyzing, interpreting, or applying information in their class assignments
- “Declining by Degrees” –students don’t learn how to engage in critical thinking
- Derek Bok says in “Our Underachieving Colleges” that students are not learning and that there is a lack of overarching purpose in undergraduate curricula.
What can we do? Re-examine:
- what we teach
- how we teach
- how we gear up to teach
- who we are as teachers (see Parker Palmer’s work)
What we teach:
· what we want students to learn is not just knowledge about the discipline
· significant learning comes from a combination of foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension (working with others and knowing oneself), caring (new interest, feelings, and values), and learning how to learn.
· Liberal Education –
How we teach: course design includes learning goals, teaching & learning activities, feedback & assessment
· is there significant learning? active learning? educative assessment (reflective and forward-looking=how will you apply this knowledge?) [we librarians should use minute papers to ask not only what students learned as the most important point in library instruction sessions and what they still have questions about, but also to ask how they will apply their new knowledge to future research]
· criteria & standards=rubrics [we library faculty should work with classroom faculty to encourage them to design rubrics which address the quality of resources students include in their papers and how well students integrate those resources]
· teaching strategy=combination of activities, in a sequence that matters
o readiness test (have they read the material?)=individual, then immediately following the same test in small groups
o application problems=small groups
o exam on content and application
o culminating project
o all of this leads not just to “exposure” to the material but also to understandings, the ability to use the content, and to valuing the content
· President Haas said that faculty are “professional educators”
· all professionals value their own professional development very seriously—
o share with colleagues
o how much time should faculty spend on learning about teaching & learning? Airline reservations employees spent at least 4 hours/month (48 hours/year) in professional development to learn new skills & about changes in the industry
o our job as professional educators is to:
§ be human alchemists
§ change the ordinary into the special (i.e.,—transforming students into confident, capable, caring people
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Our Friends Meeting is also seeking a place to rest (or is it roost?). As happened last time, every possibility seems to be falling through, and probably the one which will work for us will come at the last moment, so I trust. At work, we senior faculty struggle to identify when to trust, and when to act decisively to lead. There is a lot that goes into finding a meeting place for our spiritual community; so too with creating a space in which to find common understanding with our junior colleagues who have more formal authority in our library organization but far less experience. We experience being broken open and re-formed again, as individuals and in community, inextricably part of forming relationship, be it with Spirit or each other. (Both/and, one of my colleagues/friends would remind me.) May this struggle give all of us a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that, with the eyes of our heart enlightened, we may know what is the hope to which we are called (see Ephesians 1:17-19; thanks to Micah Bales in his July 8 post in The Lamb's War for reminding me of this passage and to look for connections). Hope, a constantly deliberate act of will.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
P.S., why do I consider myself a "convergent" Quaker? Because, despite my liberal tendencies and membership in a FGC Meeting, I experienced a calling to study and worship with an evangelical-type Christian church in a very different and newer tradition than liberal Friends, which continually took me out of my comfort zone, and let me learn an enormous amount about the Bible. Because I visited an evangelical Friends meeting and felt the lack of connection between us. Because I believe in dialogue rather than dismissal, and understanding rather than merging.