Reading, Writing, Learning: Cindy Hicks Chabot College Title 3 Basic Skills Coordinator, 1993-94 Former WRAC Center Coordinator, 1999-2002 Learning Connection Project Development Coordinator, 2005-now From the WRITING AND READING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM CENTER to the LEARNING CONNECTION
Integrating Writing and Reading Come gather ‘round the fire to hear stories from long ago. In 1993-1994, three events converged at Chabot College: 1. We received a $5 million Title 3 grant to address, in part, basic skills in English, ESL, and Math. Our Student Services area was funded to create a Tutorial Center. 2. The College converted from quarters to semesters, so curriculum had to be adjusted. 3. We had recently hired many new tenure-track English instructors.
Title 3 We had proposed combining our Reading Center and our Writing Center. WHY?
Since the late eighties, we had added reading to our Writing Across the Curriculum project, making it WRAC. We began inviting speakers who knew or were learning about teaching reading to adults, such as Joan M. Naake and Elizabeth V. Biggert, from Consumnes River College, who had co-directed an FII Reading Across the Curriculum project.
Our Reading and Writing Centers were mastery-learning based and provided a path for students to English 1A. We wanted a different approach, one which supported the academic reading and writing students were actually engaged in at the moment. Also, we wanted a center that supported students’ work rather than one that provided a way to meet the prerequisite for English 1A.
Research Project Obligated by Title 3 to integrate our Reading Center and Writing Center into a Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum (WRAC) Center, English instructors used the opportunity provided by the funding, quarter-to-semester conversion, and new instructors to devote two quarters to research in order to rethink our curriculum. 5. The results were “Articulated Assumptions” and the “Throughline.” 4. We attended conferences, enrolled in classes, and read in order to inform ourselves about teaching reading and writing to adults. We shared what we learned with one another. 3. We attended conferences, enrolled in classes, and read in order to learn about the use of computers in teaching writing. 2. We began our research by asking questions in order to learn our common beliefs and values and to determine areas in which we didn’t agree.
Early on, English instructors took the Myers-Briggs as a community-building activity. Later, we opened each meeting by addressing people’s questions, concerns, criticisms, which could be submitted anonymously.
Articulated Assumptions Excerpts from the assumptions, developed in approximately 1995:
Book-length works should be included in all levels of our curriculum.
Many students who currently don’t pass preparatory courses need more time reading, reasoning, writing critically, and/or improving “studenting” skills.
We do not generally favor students’ expository essays being exclusively personal reflection.
Student essays should largely, if not always, be based upon a response to something the students have read.
We should offer preparatory English students the same kind of reading and writing experiences we offer freshman comp students.
Preparatory English students lack student skills.
Students who improve their reading tend to improve their writing and vice versa.
A “whole language” approach--i.e., one that involves reading, writing, speaking, and listening--is desirable.
The hierarchal model of English where skills proceed from words to sentences to paragraphs to essay structure is not favored in this division.
“ Throughline” Excerpts from the “Throughline", developed in approximately 1997:
Increase students’ familiarity with and knowledge of the academic culture, themselves as learners, and the relationship of the two.
Include full-length works.
Create settings which include speaking, listening, and responding in order to foster community building and forge links to critical reading and writing.
Emphasize critical thinking, the making of meaning. Critical thinking includes seeing patterns, drawing inferences, evaluating for purpose, synthesizing….
Approach the teaching of writing by inviting students to write prose pieces of varying length and complexity. Writing is not taught in a progression from the sentence to the paragraph to the essay.
Address directly students’ reading practices. Reading is absolutely critical to academic success, and we strive to include more reading, in terms of both range and depth, in our program.
Integrate reading, writing, critical thinking, speaking, and listening.
The WRAC Center will value collaboration among instructors, staff, and students, respecting that each contributes to the learning environment.
WRAC Center computer hardware and software, as well as computer classroom design, will be guided by the instructional values reflected in the Articulated Assumptions and the “Throughline.”
As an English department program, the WRAC Center will be guided by the Articulated Assumptions and the “Throughline.”
The WRAC Center will offer assistance to students with their English classes.
The WRAC Center will offer assistance to students with their reading and writing from any class in any discipline.
The English Reading and Writing Core Curriculum Today English 101A: Reading, Reasoning, Writing I English 7: Critical Thinking & Writing--AC English 4: Critical Thinking & Writing--Literature English 101B: Reading, Reasoning, Writing II English 102: Reading, Reasoning, Writing--Accelerated English 1A: Critical Reading and Composition, followed by or or
Students work with peer tutors on their writing primarily. Not often does a student request assistance with reading.
Most students who see peer tutors are in English classes. This may be the result of our moving to a cross-disciplinary learning support model. Students may be asking their life sciences tutor or math tutor, rather than a WRAC tutor, for assistance with the reading/writing in life sciences or math. This aligns with our efforts to support instructors so they can apprentice their students in their disciplines’ reading and reasoning. (More and more, we’re realizing that successful learning support programs, including tutorials, need to be aligned with inquiries and practices occurring across the campus.)
Of the students who use a WRAC Center service, 85% regularly report being satisfied with the service.
Our informal surveys regularly indicate that 82-85% of students who use any WRAC service succeed in the class for which they sought support.
Change is on-going. Plan for resistance to change. Be aware different people will resist for different reasons, some of which may be good or, at least, legitimate.
(in no particular order)
Immediately hear and address people’s questions, concerns, issues.
Faculty need to drive the program. Pilots, activities, or programs must be initiated by instructors. Practice patience. Even when we instructors appear misguided, we must be able to try out an idea or an innovation, so that we can learn what works, what doesn’t, what’s possible, what isn’t.
Empower faculty to succeed. Think ahead about how to provide
ongoing professional development. Support opportunities for
instructors to learn about WAC, Reading Apprenticeship, and
other promising practices. Encourage faculty inquiry and
Write down the mission, vision, policies, and procedures, and revisit them
regularly in order to avoid having new instructors, coordinators, or
administrators unaware of important history that informs the present.
Keep instructors actively engaged. Complacent instructors may rely on
paraprofessional staff to make decisions that the instructors need to
Be intentional about location. Facilities must support the educational goals.
Report regularly to appropriate groups and committees to ease
institutionalization of pilots and grants.
Think ahead from grant-funded to college supported. Watch the
money; meet regularly with administrators, including CFO or
More of What We’ve Learned
From WRAC to the Learning Connection What is the Learning Connection? In brief, it is a cross-curricular, learning support collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. The Learning Connection strives to be innovative, collaborative, creative, efficient, and need and data driven as it pursues resources and opportunities to support teaching and learning. More specifically, the Learning Connection is made up of the learning support programs offered through Academic Services, including: Tutorials, the WRAC Center, the Math Lab, the Language Center (ESL), ChabotLink peer advising, and a burgeoning Center for Teaching and Learning. Two additional centers are being developed: The Communications Center and a World Language Center. In addition, two programs are being successfully piloted at the present time: Peer Led Team Learning (two chemistry classes and one math class) and the Learning Assistant program.
In other words,Chabot College is striving to move from…
Faculty-Student Tutorials Faculty-recommended and trained peer tutors Peer-Lead Team Learning & Learning Assistants Scheduled Tutoring in all subjects On-line Learning Support LEARNING SUPPORT Study Groups Drop-in Tutoring: Math Writing and Reading ESL: CAI support World Languages: CAI support Communication: video support Committees, Grants Instructors, Deans, Staff, Students
TUTR 49A Tutoring Theory and Practice: ALL TUTORS, PLTL’S, LA’S (Tutor Training Program Coordination) TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA LIFE SCIENCES TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA WORLD LANGUAGES TUTR 49-02 PEER ADVISOR TRAINING PLTL LEADERS LEARNING ASSTS. TRNG . 9 HOURS W/INSTR. TUTR 49B.01 CONTENT-AREA PROJECT-BASED TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA CHEMISTRY TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA SPEECH & COMM. TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA ALL MATH TUTR 49B CONTENT-AREA LANGUAGE ARTS
And by keeping up with evolving needs and insights such as
Three Foundations Coordinated Learning Connection BUDGET CENTRAL SPACE Learning Support, Center for Teaching and Learning Dedicated ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT Learning Connection Learning Support & CTL, Library— Provide leadership to the campus community to plan, supervise, and evaluate all programs and services in the area for effectiveness, efficiency, and student success; Provide leadership on behalf of faculty for professional development…
Applause for us all as we continue our efforts to strengthen our students’ foundations for success. Thank you!