1) TEXT: As I taught Business 11 (Entrepreneurship) to English language learners, I ordered and distributed copies of the book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson in each student's native language. The goal was to remove one barrier to understanding and hence improve the (English) discussion of the concepts presented.
2) LECTURE: For all my classes, I complemented my lectures and discussions with highly graphic "Powerpoints" (actually "Keynotes" as I use a Mac) that were distributed to the students in note format (3 slides with room beside for notes) in hardcopy and as pdfs. These graphics were designed to illustrate the concepts being covered. In addition, I videotaped many lectures and made them available (I also used them to review my teaching practices).
3) QUIZ: For homework especially in Math, I assigned practice questions and the following day instead of checking homework in detail, I had one question quizzes based on this work. These were completed in dedicated journals which I collected and assessed. These journals were a source of feedback to both the students and teacher.
4) HOMEWORK: In addition to practice homework, I identified the textbook material that students could consider pre-reading, especially the English language learners so they could familiarize themselves with the Business or Science vocabulary. On occasion, taking a cue from the "flipped classroom" concept, I assigned short videos like those from the Kahn Academy to watch in advance of class. In one class, I built SurveyMonkey multiple choice quizzes to allow students to assess their pre-read comprehension.
5) PRESENTATION: Throughout each term, I had each student research a relevant topic, prepare a report and then give a presentation to the class. Some of these were major activities, like reporting on an industrial process in Chemistry, while others were minor like showing and explaining a political cartoon in International Business. This permitted students to choose topics of some interest and hone their communication skills.
6) TEST: I always included test questions that required higher-order thinking, beyond strict memorization of the text and lecture material. In order to make these challenges "fair," I frequently gave students choices i.e. "Answer 3 of the following 5." My two favourite questions were: In Business, "Imagine your the CEO of IKEA/ Steve Jobs and you are facing the following problem ..." In Chemistry, multi-part questions focusing on a single chemical compound like CO2: it's chemical and physical properties, manufacture, and reactions that educated as well as tested.
7) PRACTICAL: I'm keen on learning and teaching the practical applications of concepts and theories. In the business classes, I told many personal stories that served as examples of the theories put into practice. The students also were required to draft a business plan and run a small event (like the lemonade stand I demonstrated in class). In Chemistry alongside a significant amount of relevant lab work, the students presented on industrial processes and we looked into some of the economic parameters (e.g. cost versus yield). We also went on a field trip to a University lab and heard a professor lecture. Two practical activities that I'm still hoping to pilot are: the direct use of high school Functions and Calculus (beyond the pendulum experiment the students performed) as applied to animation (e.g. shading, movement, volume, scale), business (e.g. forecasting) and engineer problems (e.g. forces), as well as having Science students design, develop and test their own lab experiments.
Copyright: D. Jones 2012
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