ERIC Number: ED449512
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Student Management Teams: Redesigning Course Contexts To Empower Writers.
Writing instructors sometimes initiate innovative teaching techniques based on misleading assumptions about student backgrounds. Such conjectures may cause confusion unless instructors provide non-threatening feedback loops for students to discuss issues that affect the course learning environment: issues they are often reluctant to raise because they worry about their grades. To overcome the dilemma of gaining authentic student input on teaching techniques while a course is going on, Edward Nuhfer suggests student management teams (SMTs) as a way to decenter classroom authority. SMTs collaborate with the students in the class and the instructor to improve the course. The educator/author has used SMTs in three very different classroom environments: a literature course for advanced ESL students; a composition course for traditional college students; and a technical writing course for adult students at night. In each case, his assumptions about the students and the courses were changed, based on feedback from his SMTs. As a result, the learning environment in each course improved, and student confusion, frustration, and discontent declined. After procedures for organizing an SMT are explained, ideas from systems thinking and quality control are used to analyze the educator's involvement with SMTs and to provide suggestions for best practice. Although the educator is very positive about the SMT concept, some of its drawbacks are also discussed. A 5-item bibliography of current literature is appended, as are a comparison/contrast chart of the SMT differences between the ESL, traditional, and adult learning classes, and an educational adaptation of Deming's 14 points for quality control. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (90th, Milwaukee, WI, November 16-21, 2000).