"Semester Ends..." continued from page 1

ill will, creativity, and pleasure. Following a summary lecture on the last night, I ask each student to respond verbally to the following question: “What will you personally take away from this class?”

In teaching stress management to the Department of the Army at the Pentagon, my colleagues and I developed this approach to wrap up a course which taught diverse cognitive-behavioral skills. We found that this question usually resulted in a much more relevant and practical summary than lecturing. People tend to listen to their classmates, who are speaking from their personal experience, often framing up their life lessons in fresh ways. It helps to assign students the task of reviewing their notes ahead of time to prepare for the discussion.

Susan White, Finance

The last week of classes is difficult for both students and teachers — much too much is happening on all fronts. Remember the joke about the teacher who diedand went to hell? When she got there she had a mandatory interview with the devil. He told her that in hell everyone had to work and that her job assignment was as a teacher. She said that she would like that—she had worked as a teacher all her life. The devil said, “yes, but in hell every week is the last week of classes.”

Strategies for a last class can vary widely, depending on the class. The last class day does not have to be wasted time, but if it can be made into a fun class,   you    and    the    students    will

appreciate it. The last day of classes is a good day to wrap things up—students could present on their projects or do a role play exercise. The instructor can use the last class as a review, and wrap up the main points of the course. If there is a final exam in the course, the last day can be used as a formal exam review session.

Philip Silvey, School of Music

I have always found endings to be more challenging than beginnings. Often the end of a semester arrives too quickly, and in the final class session it’s as if everything suddenly grinds to a halt. There I am, bleary-eyed in the middle of a vacated classroom asking, “What just happened?” By creating a forum for students to share their mastery and progress as they negotiate their way through our degree program, we have set aside a moment in time to appreciate and reflect upon what has just happened, and to orient ourselves toward what lies ahead. The success of our own version of “noon recitals” is an indication that perhaps final classes are best spent as times to regain perspective, gather our things, and prepare for the next leg of the journey.

One of the advantages of teaching university courses in musical performance is that student progress is readily discernable. If pitches are out of tune, or the technique is flawed, the instructor immediately perceives this and can determine if a student has not mastered the challenges of performing a musical composition. In the School of Music,   students   regularly   participate

 in weekly “noon recitals” to demonstrate individual progress on their principal instrument for peers and faculty in a public performance. Along with encouraging the development of musicianship and performance skills in our students, the Division of Music Education faculty also endeavors to nurture students as teachers-in the-making. Unlike the immediate impact of a well-rehearsed performance, the skills required to be a successful teacher are less glamorous and rarely seen by a broader audience outside an individual instructional setting.

A few years ago, in an effort to recognize and acknowledge student advancements in their “educatorship” (the ability to teach, an expression used by music education philosopher David Elliott), the music education faculty decided to implement a “music education noon recital.” This occasion was conceived essentially to serve as a public forum in which our undergraduates could share with one another the progress they had made as teachers-in-training both within and outside of their music education coursework during the semester. The music education noon recital has now become a regular feature of end of semester activities. This event includes student performances on secondary instruments (often never attempted before the beginning of a particular semester), demonstrations of teaching success through student led small ensembles or peer teaching, and the sharing of video clips of practice teaching conducted in field placements

 "Semester Ends..." continued on page 13

< Previous Page

First Page

Next Page >