What kinds of things the teachers did


What this meant, during the year, was that as teachers the three professors involved acted in dramatically different ways than in a conventional course -- indeed, in ways that were considerably different even from their own courses. We spent a substantially increased amount of time, for instance, in planning the activity frameworks, in meeting with colleagues, in in- process problem solving and brainstorming, in long-term planning and, most surprisingly, in collaborative writing -- indeed, much of the planning of the course turned out to occur during the drafting of the written "prompts" by which each day and each activity was shaped and explained. A substantial proportion of the teachers' time was invested in ways similar to the conduct of their usual courses, as well, in meeting with the whole class or with small groups -- less than usual, however, in conducting discussions, since very early, discussions began proceeding without a teacher in attendance -- in reading student writing, in writing to students both individually and as a group. Since our intention was to create a situation in which student writing served authentic functions, less time than usual was spent in responding to and commenting on student writing, though a substantial amount of time was devoted to answering student questions and responding to student concerns via email.

Although the usual amount of time was spent in record keeping, much less time than in a conventional class was devoted to lecturing or preparing lectures or reading course materials.


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