Traditional Methods are Tools, Too

Traditional Methods are Tools, Too (PILOT Reflections) One often hears that computers and other online instruction methods are only tools, and that they should complement, rather than replace, traditional methods of instruction. But aren’t traditional instructional approaches also tools? I just finished a week of teaching a Vacation Bible School, and I absolutely love sitting on the floor with first-graders who are raising their hands and almost red in the face,…

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Teaching the Gifted Student

Teaching the Gifted Student (PILOT Reflections) I was a little surprised to find “gifted students” on the list of subjects to discuss in an accessibility and inclusion workshop. On the one hand, gifted students are a joy. They do the readings. They participate in class. They ask thoughtful questions. On the other hand, gifted students can be a burden. They can monopolize class discussions. They might expect that simply being bright…

Teaching Students with Psychiatric Disabilities

Teaching Students with Psychiatric Disabilities (PILOT Reflections) When I was a grad student teaching a freshman writing class, a student wearing a leather jacket and miniskirt put her fishnet-stocking-clad leg up on the table and blew spit bubbles through her front teeth, popping them with her finger while talking to me about her assignment. Maybe that was some sort of sorority initiation, but I still have nightmares about it. Another time,…

Dyslexia in Freshman Composition Courses

Dyslexia in Freshman Composition Courses (PILOT Reflections) While Seton Hill does offer an Honors section of "Seminar in Thinking and Writing" (the two-semester freshman comp and "welcome to college life" course), its other students of various abilities are mainstreamed. Students take a test during orientation, and may be placed in a one-credit lab course or a three-credit developmental course, either of which they take along with the regular STW course. I’ve…

Varying Instructional Methods

Varying Instructional Methods (PILOT Reflections) I wonder if I’d do a better job varying my instructional techniques if every college classroom came equipped with a first-grader to act as an early-warning system, ready to flop over on the carpet and moan at the first sign of boredom. I love writing workshop days because there’s usually little prep to do. On the rare occasion when I prepare a formal lecture, I do…

Missing Class

Missing Class (PILOT Reflections) Preface: Did I Miss Anything, a short poem by Tom Wayans. Amusing: A FAQ page that I put up is the top Google hit for “missed class“. Students sometimes miss class for extended periods due to illness. I once had a student who was a group leader in a technical writing class. She passed out assignments to her team members, then didn’t show up for six weeks.…

Mobility as a Learning Needs Issue

Mobility as a Learning Needs Issue (PILOT Reflections) My father has a neck injury that acts up whenever he is immobile for a long period of time. Concentrating or racing the clock aggravates his injury. Getting to sleep can also be a problem.He has experimented with different seating postures, but what seemed to work best was if he happened to drop off to sleep in the middle of the day in…