College Tries Innovative Teaching Methods
Levin, Meta L., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Meta L. Levin Daily Herald Correspondent
When College of Lake County chemistry instructor Anne Loeb wanted to breathe some life into her classes and help those who feared chemistry, she turned to a unique program that recently was honored by the Illinois Community College Board.
"Without this program I might have tried (proposed changes) but I would not have pursued them," Loeb said.
Headed by English instructor Rita Eastberg, the year-long Research Design Class focused on individual concerns and used several methods to address them.
Centered around case study research and techniques Eastberg learned while studying at the Martha's Vineyard Institute for Teaching of Writing, the class and its nine participants focused on individual teaching areas. To identify and improve, they did everything from taping classes to interviewing students.
Some even watched video tapes of their classes with students and invited feedback. Others transcribed the tapes and looked at them critically.
"They had different types of projects, from looking at things they already were doing in the classroom to creating new methods and looking at them," Eastberg said.
Loeb was one who tried a new teaching method, then used the class to help her assess and refine it. Before the class, she primarily lectured. In an effort to help students learn better, she divided them into study groups, allowing each group to work on problems together. She also used a journal with specific questions to get feedback.
"I told them they were going to write in a journal, but I had given no thought to the questions I would ask," she said. "The English instructors helped me tremendously with that."
An English as a Second Language instructor observed ESL students who had been mainstreamed to see how her former students and others did once they were out of the program. …