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Grading

Grading is not Teaching

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Grading is grading. Teaching is helping the students improve their performance or increase their knowledge or change their thinking. Grading doesn’t do any of that. Students learn by doing (writing, creating, speaking), reflecting and getting feedback.  The doing part is the required assignments and the optional ones and the more they do, the higher the grade […]

Assignments

What makes a meaningful assignment?

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I’ve been talking a lot about reducing the picky and endless details of the assignments in order to get the students to dig deeper and think more holistically so the whole experience becomes more meaningful.  But what does that mean exactly?  How do I know if the assignments are meaningful?  Certainly, I evaluate by deeply […]

Philosophy of Teaching

Specificity is Tyranny

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You think specificity is good; we’re taught it’s good.  But it’s not.  It’s oppressive.  All those who hate rubrics, raise your hands. I get it.  I spent many years being more and more detailed in my assignments, being clearer and more precise about exactly what was expected of my students.  That way, they knew exactly […]

Assignments

The Only-in-New-York Assignment

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OK, so the commute is horrible and keeps getting worse with the increasing subway crowds and rent is ridiculous.  But this city gives back: awesome food and people and energy and a place for someone as weird as I am.  AND it gives me an on-going protest at Trump Tower (TT) where people read work […]

Assignments

The First Speech

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How did students do on their first speech? The short of it is:  I’m pleased.  The vast majority of the students did their speeches on time and they were just as good, if not better, as previous semesters.  Actually, they seemed better but I don’t really have a clear way to measure that.  I certainly […]

Assignments

Less Grading, Better Student Performance

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I’m grading less in two ways: number of assignments and number of evaluative categories.  Remember, this is the basic public speaking class.  Traditionally we have 3-4 required f2f speeches.  I am requiring two.  In the last 25 years of my teaching this course, it has always been a panic to get through all of the […]

Assignments

The Sixth Assignment

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This refers to the “come up with your own assignment and I have to ok it” option.  This assignment is the epitome of my teaching philosophy for this course.  It gives them the opportunity to create their own learning, to think about what they need to know, what situation to apply this course to.  I […]

Grading

The liberating grading system

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Yes. Liberating.  For me and my students.  Here are two of the most important elements of my new system: how they earn their semester grade and how they earn credit for a speech. First, they earn their semester grade by deciding how many assignments they will complete at the basic level.  Completing five assignments at […]

Grading

Teach, don’t grade

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After teaching the basic public speaking course at colleges for over 30 years, and being frustrated with the level of speeches, level of writing, no-shows and drops, I realized I had to radically change the way I was teaching.  Because, you know, if they aren’t learning, I’m not teaching. So this blog will explain how […]