Faculty Spotlight: Beth Bletscher

Faculty Spotlight: Beth Bletscher

MCC-Longview Math Department Coordinator and Instructor

Beth

With her gentle smile and firm commitment to students, Beth Bletscher is a strong, admirable educator. Her dedication to the FOCUS Developmental Math courses have inspired numerous students, those who were the Supplemental Instruction Leaders as well as those who were her students. This is true of her other classes as well. Peek in while she’s teaching, and you will find lively interaction and progressive learning in progress. She consistently pursues some new lesson for herself, so it comes as no surprise that she eagerly helps others grow into their best selves. If you can, go visit her and begin a conversation. You will find a strong, lively colleague in Beth.

1. What do you most value about your work with math?
Beth: Math is a huge barrier for many students, often forcing them to alter their college career goals. This is heartbreaking and painful to watch. What I value most about my work is helping a student who views himself or herself as someone who cannot do math into someone who can do math without sacrificing academic standards. The resulting joy and pride are priceless.

2. What are your interests and professional development beyond Longview?
Beth: Professionally, I have been focused on helping redesign developmental education at MCC for over two years as part of a federal grant awarded to the district.
Personally, my biggest problem is that I have too many hobbies and never enough time. I love to learn! I love to read! I am a musician and write children’s songs which I would like to publish if I could ever find the time to buy the composing software and learn how to use it. I garden, grow vegetables, sew, crochet, and refinish furniture. I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking and camping.

3. What would you share with other teachers about your best practices?
Beth: CARE about your students. Accept all abilities without judgment. Establish a personal connection; learn their names and several important facts about them as the semester progresses. Hold them to a high standard, but let them know you hold yourself to the same high expectations. If you do not ask them to rise to the occasion, then they will not try. Students will respect themselves more if they have to work for a good grade. Many students know deep down inside when they have not earned something, such as an easy A, and it chips away at their self-esteem.

4. What would you like others to understand about your teaching?
Beth: I think my dedication to teaching is somewhat genetic. Both my mother and grandmother were one-room school house teachers (grades 1st through 8th). My grandmother was so dedicated to her profession that when she got married to my grandpa they continued to live separately with their parents to hide their union because one-room school house teachers were not allowed to be married. These women in my family were teachers simply due to a desire to help others learn as their jobs were far from glorious. They cleaned the school, hauled in wood every morning to start a fire, brought in buckets of water from the well for drinking, bought their own teaching supplies, taught eight grades, taught music, taught art, and organized school programs.

End of Semester Retention

End of Semester Retention

By Robyn McGee

robyn-photo

You’ve seen it: the glazed, exhausted look that sets in on the faces of students as the last few weeks of the semester loom.  The initial weeks of a semester are usually so full of excitement and hope, but as the semester wears on, students often lose their way, finding it more and more difficult to attend class and study.

This common scenario often plagues our classrooms and can really affect the moods of students and teachers alike.  In most cases, these students commit to finishing the semester and do so successfully.  But for others, the semester overwhelms them, and they resign to the withdrawal or failing grade, thinking they might try again the following semester.

As instructors, we sometimes feel helpless to get these students to the finish line.  Those third attendance roster submissions can leave us wondering “why hasn’t so-and-so been coming?” or “this student began the semester with such high hopes and then dropped off the radar.”  And we might ask ourselves, “Could I have done anything more that would have helped them finish?” In some cases, that answer is “no,” but for others, just a few strategies can keep them coming back each week in throughout November (or April) and into the last couple of weeks of the semester.

Strategies:

  1. At the beginning of each semester, I ask students to write for a few minutes about what their goals are for the class, for the semester, for their academic careers, and for their lives. They usually reflect and write excitedly, for it’s the beginning of a semester and, for many, the beginning of their college education.  But by mid-semester, after homework assignments and midterms and late-night essay writing, those beginning-of-semester reflections have faded and they’ve forgotten why they’re there.  I keep those writings and, around November, pass them back out to the students as a reminder of the excitement they once felt, of the goals they once had, and of the dreams they imagined for their futures.  And it works. I think.  Some of them are embarrassed by their early semester writing, but in general, most of them remark something along the lines of “Wow.  I had forgotten about that.”  Sometimes, simply reminding them of why they’re there can really reawaken their drive.
  2. During the Thanksgiving week break (or spring break), I send out announcements to the class via Blackboard. These consists not only of reminders about what’s coming up on the schedule for the week they return, but also simple messages letting them know that I’m looking forward to seeing them the following week.  And that I’m sure they WILL be returning to finish the semester.
  3. I find that students who build academic relationships with their peers in the same class tend to complete the course more often than those who isolate themselves. Thus, I try to help them build those relationships early on in the classroom.  This consists of group discussions, Blackboard discussion groups that allow them to ask each other questions about the class without my interference, peer workshops on essays, or any other activity that requires them to interact with one another.  Some semesters, students form carpool groups on their own or exchange numbers in case they have transportation issues and find themselves needing a ride to school.
  4. This is very simple but effective: remind students weekly how little time is left in the semester. I will often walk into the class during the last few weeks exclaiming, “Wow, you guys!  Can you believe we ONLY HAVE four more weeks of the semester left? This is going to FLY BY!”  Sometimes they just need a reminder that the end is near.
  5. If a student has performed poorly in the beginning of the semester, that student usually feels that completing the semester is futile. And sometimes it is, depending on how low their grade it.  But for those who can still succeed, they might not realize it.  For my D students, I will often shoot them a message or speak to them after class about what they can do to pass the class.  I outline very specific strategies for them and go over all the scenarios that would have them passing the class and not having to retake the next semester. I’ve often had students come very close to withdrawing just before the withdrawal date, only to find out from me that all hope is not lost and that it is still mathematically possible for them to pass.  You may have just one or two students on that fence, and it’s really satisfying to see them successfully complete the course.
  6. Finally, make sure students are clear about what is expected of them as the end of the semester draws near. Remind them of upcoming assignments, have them review their syllabus, go over the final exam date/time/location.  Remind them that the last few weeks can often make or break their grade.  Finishing strong can help strengthen their confidence in themselves and set them up for success for in future semesters.

Of course, even if we employ all of the strategies we can in an effort to save a student’s semester, there will be some students who don’t pass the finish line in December (or May).  But even if we can turn around the semesters of one or two students, it’s absolutely worth it.  And those students are usually incredible thankful that they weren’t allowed to give up.

Resource:

Article – NY Times, Nudges that Help Students Succeed

 

Please Come Back!

Please Come Back. This is YOUR Education, After All

Realizations from Using Hope Theory

By Jan Rogjan-with-students

Now, is this week #13 or week #14?  I know my original syllabus has it listed, as does my book of daily attendance. In my mind, though, I am in an academic fatigue when the days and weeks swim together. Personally, I focus on the end of each day with a simple goal of just making it through. Retention for after Thanksgiving seems far away. If this is true of me – a tired yet still satisfied teacher – what is its truth for my students?  I’m not even worried about next semester yet.  I say that I’m focused on encouraging students to return from a week-long Thanksgiving Break, but my real concern is seeing students attend today’s classes, tomorrow’s classes, and then that next class when the next writing assignment is due.

Not only at this point in the semester, but also at this point in my profession, I firmly believe this unsettled, uncomfortable concern should not come only to professors but should nag, capture, and haunt the students. How do I get them to remain committed to learning? So much of our focus is bringing them back to campus, but how do we instill in them a focused, intentional academic professionalism?  If nothing else, I repeat to myself, “Yes, the grand illusions are ideals, but how do I get them to come back?”

Currently, many other strategies comprise my pedagogy, but Hope Theory is foremost among my work with students. Simply, students begin with awareness. How do they set goals?  What goals do they even want?  Additionally, how do they use their resources (sometimes creating their own resources) as pathways and then apply inner strengths and motivation as agency in committedly working to accomplish those goals?

Three of my classes are concluding their Thematic Unit about Hope. At least this particular semester, this work with Hope Theory goes far beyond any of my strategies. Since beginning stages of brainstorming through these final stages of completing their hope essays, attendance has been stronger, class discussions have been more inclusive, I’ve received more office visits, and – I take a breath as I type this – students actually seem to enjoy writing their essays. Below are my personal reflections about these classes:

  • Students struggle with a connotative definition of “Hope” that requires active work, honest internal reflection, and realistic goal setting. In each class this semester and in semesters before there were students who embraced denotative explanations which emphasized belief.  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition that hope is “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true”.

First, I must say, I am relieved that many even utilize that dictionary rather than just typing the term and taking whichever first googled definition pops up.

I struggle to have them move beyond the simple reportage of dictionary definitions. Can they paraphrase the definition? What specific examples illustrate a definition? What are the limitations of the definition in question? Initially, a good many of the students simply want to stay within the comfort of the basic definitions.

  • This wishful thinking philosophy has led many a philosophy of “If only we believe hard enough, we can achieve our dreams. Anything is possible if only we try hard enough.” While I appreciate the power and need for this at times, I also fear that this leads students – all of us – into false beliefs about attaining dreams.

Addressing this as the students have been writing their essays, I referred to a speech I introduced the first week this semester: Jackie Robinson’s “Free Minds and Hearts at Work.” This giant among us emphasized that there is no magical wishful thinking that guarantees success in life. At the beginning of the semester, they were initially impressed by his accomplishments, and then they were more deeply impacted by his realistic message of needing to work humbly and persevere even with no guarantee:

Free minds and human hearts were at work all around me, and so there was the probability of improvement.  I look at my children now and know that I must still prepare them to meet obstacles and prejudices.

At first these additional words made my students uncomfortable. This time is a sobering one for my students, especially as they consider the violence and upheavals surrounding them. Such uncertainty early on in the semester highlighted the threats and fears many of them face. Come mid-terms, though, they take greater comfort in another of Mr. Robinson’s quotes: “I can say to my children: There is a chance for you. No guarantee, but a chance.”

Come mid-terms, this message resounds with them more than any promises that life will be perfect. Through critical judgment, cautious awareness, or simple fatigue, they may be a bit savvier about the realities that come with goals.

  • Finding hopeful, active work exemplified in others is not a challenge for most of my students. True, they need to work on their academic rhetoric and style, but they get the concept that others they admire have integrated hope within their lives.
  • The majority of my students have struggled to recognize motivation, goal-setting, and personal resources within themselves despite easily seeing goal-setting, use of resources, and inner motivation in others. Once we address this, student retention comes into play in my classes.

We engage in class conversations, dyad and triad teamwork, and individual self-talk in addressing these self-expectations. They have written, reflected, revised, taken new directions, revised yet again, and then arrived at their breakthrough realizations.

Initially, when writing about their goals, some students focused far into the future. Dreams of marrying rich athletes, having perfect children, and being highly successful in unspecified fields were their first “goals”. Such unattainable dreams seem to come with built-in “outs” for them. Simply, when they can’t achieve these, there seems to be a safety in failing. Through conversations, reflections, and ongoing writing, the goals and means of achieving them become more grounded. Dreams of marrying rich athletes transform into goals of returning to playing volleyball as they had enjoyed in high school.  Confident dreams of having perfect children are recast as commitments to family members currently in their lives.

Best of all, dreams of being accepted into unnamed 4-year universities transform not only into ideas of specific schools or vocational programs but also into visits to the Writing Studio, writing sessions during my office hours, and homework plans. I also see an increase in office visits, higher numbers of Writing Studio appointments, and seemingly endless revisions.

  • I look forward to more lessons about Hope in future semesters. How can it be? Did this rub off on me, too? I will use this feedback – this enthusiasm – the last day before Thanksgiving Break. I want them to leave with a feeling of accomplishment, pride, and resolution to come back to someone who’s excited for them, someone who values their work and goals.

At least in this Hope composition, the students keep coming to class. I’ve retained them for a day-to-day time period. Yes, I use many of the techniques and strategies that other teachers use; I need every single tool at my disposal to help these students. Oh, to have a guarantee that the students will return after Thanksgiving. Rather than simply wishing that they will return, I’ll make my regular goals of communicating with them: sending messages, assigning light review work, and outlining what they need to expect upon returning. Still, I sigh at this current idea that retention comes from teachers’ efforts, especially when I consider that we are teaching adults in college. Like many or even all of you other teachers do, I want to communicate to my students:  “This is YOUR education. This is YOUR life.” There is no guarantee for them, but they have exceptional resources and strong inner strengths to pursue their goals.

Time to now prepare for Week #14 – or is it Week #15?  Ah well. . . Onward!

Resource:

Article – NPR, Jackie Robinson – This I believe

Faculty Professional Development

MCC offered district professional development funds for faculty in the spring of 2016 and several MCC-Longview faculty members took advantage of the opportunity to attend conferences and obtain certifications. When employees apply for professional development funding, they are asked to outline how they will share information they learn with colleagues. The CTL committee thanks the following faculty members for providing submissions to share with our campus faculty.


Deah Robinson, Counselor

I used my professional development funds to become a HeartMath Certified Mentor. HeartMath is an internationally recognized organization that uses a system of scientific research and validated techniques for people who are interested in personal development and improved emotional, mental, and physical health. The certification focused on building resilience and provided a four session framework to help individuals develop and increase resilience. Developing resilience is positively correlated with the way a person manages stress and uncertainty. The foundation of the HeartMath training centers around building coherence, a specific assessment of the heart’s rhythms that appears as smooth, ordered and sine-wavelike patterns. When a person is in a coherent state, virtually no energy is wasted because our systems are performing optimally and there is synchronization between heart rhythms, the respiratory system, and blood-pressure rhythms. Coherence provides many benefits including increased composure, more energy, clear thinking, enhanced immune-system function and hormonal balance. Increasing levels of coherence is the first step in developing resilience.

Here is a link to experience HeartMath’s Quick Coherence Technique:

https://www.heartmath.org/resources/heartmath-tools/quick-coherence-technique-for-adults/

emwave-mac-mandala-view-1
HeartMath EmWave Pro

 

Faculty need coherence too!! Did you know that the Counseling Department has HeartMath’s EmWave biofeedback technology in CEC208? You can connect with any counselor or Andrea Henderson at the front desk for instruction on how to use the equipment.

 

 

 


Angela Bahner, Psychology Faculty

I attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in May 2016. This conference is the premier place to learn about race and ethnicity within institutions of higher education, and my experience there was empowering and enlightening. One of the big “take-aways” from the conference was an increased awareness of the ways in which institutional and systemic racism continues to harm all of us despite the good intentions of many individuals in higher education. While all of the sessions I attended were helpful, one in particular stands out in my memory. I learned about an area of work by Dr. Robin DiAngelo in which she explored “white fragility.” This concept addresses and explains socialization of White people in terms of racism and then the resulting challenges when exposed to racially charged situations or discussions. A definition is as follows: White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. 

A link to one article on the subject is here, and I hope many read it! It challenges us to address ourselves and our own reactions when confronting racism.

http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

robin-diangelo
Dr. Robin DiAngelo

 


Susan Satterfield, English Facultyhttp___cdn-evbuc_-com_images_23521212_37072316298_1_original

I presented at the Online Teaching Conference in San Diego in June.
My presentation covered using online blog tools to create research essays as well as examining statistics regarding procrastination which this assignment definitely helps head off.  I also attended a pre-conference workshop on creating videos for your classes, and learned about a free video program called Screen-O-Matic that can help you easily create videos of 15 minutes or less.  This was a fabulous conference, and my presentation easily had 75-100 people attending.  The conference was sold out at 850 attendees.  OTC is planning on rising the limited attendance to 1,000 for next year.

Paper

PowerPoint Presentation


Steve Reinbold, Biology Faculty

I presented at the National Science Teachers Association Kansas City Area Conference on December 5, 2015.  Subject: Assessing Thinking Skills of Nonscience Majors in Biology Classes with a Field Study Componentnsta_logo

PowerPoint Presentation

 


If you are interested in receiving professional development funds, you can speak with your division chair to see if campus funds are available.

There will likely be $20,000 available in district professional development funds once negotiations are completed. Chris Morrow is the chair of the district professional development committee. Watch your email for future communications from Chris on how to apply to receive funding.

End of Course Closure

todolistMany of us know from life experiences (and any good story) that the ending matters just as much as the beginning.  For college faculty, few things can probably cause such simultaneous joy and sense of overwhelm as the end of a semester.  On the one hand, the end of the semester brings into focus the hard work of the past 16 weeks, along with culminations in student projects and the sense of closure that comes with ending a semester well. On the other hand, it also often brings an avalanche of grading, rising student anxieties with the realization that time has run out and there really is no extra credit, and time-pressure to finish material and cover everything on the syllabus. How many of us at one time or another have crossed that finish line throwing our hands up in defeat and exhaustion, crumpled into balls of stress only to be revived by summer sunshine and the knowledge that we get to do it all over again, and make it better, next time around?

Teaching resources often spend a great deal of time and attention focusing on how to start the semester well, and no doubt faculty invest an enormous amount of time and energy in creating lively, meaningful, and engaging beginnings to their course.  It has also been acknowledged by many teaching and learning centers that the endings don’t seem to get the same amount of attention.  In Eggelston and Smith’s (2002) article, numerous reasons are cited related to the lack of attention to class endings such as practical time constraints, attempts to “cover” as much material as possible, and even our own discomfort with saying good-bye or dealing with endings.

We hope this blog can support faculty in considering how to end class in a meaningful way, both for ourselves and our students. Eggelston and Smith (2002) surveyed faculty members and students from two different institutions, and they reported that the majority of faculty in their sample ended class by focusing on finals, projects, or review sessions.  A smaller percentage did more to end to class, like offering parting words of wisdom and making an official good-bye to the class. It may be surprising to note that of their student sample, 90% reported they would like more closure from their courses.

As with any teaching tool, it’s important that faculty do something that fits within the scope of their course and own personal style.  We hope this blog can inspire all of us to make sure we end our courses in a meaningful way.  Because after all, you and your course matters in the educational lives of our students. Make it count!

Here are Longview faculty voices on the topic of ending class in a meaningful way:

Aisha Sharif, English

Professor Sharif structures her class, so that small writing reflections throughout the semester are then used in a cumulative fashion to help create a meaningful end-of-semester final essay.  For each unit, Prof. Sharif has students complete a reflection essay in which they self-evaluate their writing skills in terms of strengths, weaknesses, and goals for improvement. In each successive reflection, students are able to track their progress and skill development.  At the end of the semester, Prof. Sharif then has students use their self-reflective writing to write a final persuasive essay regarding their own progress and final grade in the class. In this way, Prof. Sharif allows students to reflect upon their writing journey for the semester, while also developing and using skills for their final essay.

Michael Connelly, Philosophy

Professor Connelly celebrates the end of class by holding what he calls a “Truth Day.” Students can ask any philosophical question, and Prof. Connelly does his best to answer while creating engaging discussions in class.  Philosophical questioning that is student driven also allows Prof. Connelly to review key concepts and theories in preparation for the final.  Finally, Prof. Connelly uses this activity to highlight lifelong learning, noting that questioning and critical thinking doesn’t end just because class is ending in order to encourage students to take philosophical skills into their everyday lives.

Robyn McGee, English 

Professor Robyn McGee teaches an African-American literature survey course every spring, and students cover a broad range of material over different historical periods and genres.  Realizing that students can often get “lost” historically without proper context, she introduces them to a timeline at the beginning of the semester. This timeline incorporates the authors and titles, along with important historical events, so that students can situate themselves and their readings in the proper historical context.  At the end of the semester, Dr. McGee revisits this timeline, asking students to make connections between the works of literature that they previously knew very little or nothing about.  For example, she asks them to reflect upon the connection that Ida B. Wells-Barnett has with the era of lynching in which she found herself writing.  Or students might be asked to reflect upon the many ways that W.E.B. DuBois influenced the many writers who came after him.  Seeing all the authors, titles, and historical events they have covered over the 16-week period, students feel great accomplishment at being able to connect them all and see the progression—to understand that none of them existed in a vacuum and, perhaps even more importantly, to see how all of the topics they’ve covered affects our world today, particularly in terms of race relations.  All of the writers they discovered and studied were reacting to something socially, politically, and culturally, and it’s wonderful to see the students make these kinds of connections at the end of a long semester.

How do you provide academic and emotional closing to your course?

For additional tips and inspiration on ending courses:

http://cms.bsu.edu/about/administrativeoffices/educationalexcellence/resources/teachingtips/ending

http://languages.oberlin.edu/blogs/ctie/2014/04/27/closing-time-managing-the-end-of-the-semester/

http://teaching.colostate.edu/tips/tip.cfm?tipid=154

Eggelston, T. J, and Smith, G.E. (2002). Parting ways: ending your course. APS Observer, v 15, 3. Retrieved http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2002/march-02/parting-ways-ending-your-course.html

Image credit:   Global Women Connected

Hope Theory in the Classroom

shanelopez
Shane Lopez Ph.D.

For the last few years, MCC-Longview faculty have been exploring the question of what internal and external factors inspire our students to become motivated to do well not only in our classrooms but outside our campus walls. By asking this overarching question, several Longview faculty then explored Shane Lopez’s Hope Theory as explained in his popular book Making Hope Happen:  Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others. According to Lopez, Hope Theory involves the ability to consistently seek agency in life, create focused and specific goals, and to overcome various obstacles. Yet, this theory is not simply just a helpful mindset to have. Hope Theory dramatically alters the academic lives of our students when it is fully adopted by students, and, as Lopez explains, the ability to hope has been found to be a better predictor of success than previous grades, IQ, and/or standardized exams.

IHE_June2012_hopeStudentsGradRatesV1

Given this compelling evidence, Longview faculty have sought to implement strategies, assignments and discussions in their classrooms which encourage their students to actively utilize Hope Theory inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, thanks to Connie Flick-Hruska who led efforts to form the StrengthsQuest/Hope Committee, faculty now have access to a considerable amount of research and material to help them transform their classrooms’ design.

Here are a few stories from faculty about the influence Hope Theory has had on their teaching methods as well as their students’ academic journeys.

Angela Bahner: As a strong advocate for simple but effective teaching strategies based on Hope Theory, Angela Bahner has said the following:  “I have really enjoyed implementing Hope Theory into the classroom. Using Hope Theory allows me to bring active learning into the classroom and help students think about applying research in their own lives. The Hope Project provides excellent discussion prompts for students to identify past challenges and successes in their own lives, and through discussion they often identify some key aspects of hope like meaningful goals and motivation to overcome barriers.  The clear lesson on Hope Theory provides an academic definition and description of theory, along with research from Dr. Shane Lopez and the Gallup organization. Students then work on applying Hope Theory to our particular class, setting goals, and most importantly brainstorming and identifying clear pathways and behaviors that would allow students to meet those goals.  One important part of the learning process is  monitoring progress, and so the classroom check-ins provide opportunities for students to monitor their goals, and discuss with peers what successes and barriers they are encountering through the early stages of the semester. I’ve found that using Hope Theory allows me to set a positive and growth-oriented tone in my class, while at the same time setting high standards and clear expectations for what kinds of student behaviors lead to success in the classroom (i.e. appropriate and specific pathways for success in my class).” Thus, by guiding her students to proactively anticipate the inevitable struggles which come with academic learning, Angela has been able to “create a mindset for dealing with failure and challenges by focusing on identifying alternate pathways and using supports on campus to recover and improve.”

 Cindy Herbert: When first learning about Hope Theory and then utilizing it in her classroom, Cindy’s immediate reaction was that she could see it benefiting the class due to creating a stronger sense of connection and community amongst the students. Thus, for the past few semesters, Cindy has infused Hope Theory into her computer science classrooms by creating interventions or “check ins” with her students through a variety of short writing-based assignments. More specifically, these check-ins ask students to evaluate their ability to hope and current grades as well as their current academic and life obstacles. Yet, during class time, Cindy takes just a short segment of the class to distribute these assignments and then allow students to openly respond to what they learn about themselves with her. By using this strategy, Cindy found that she experienced a much more open channel of communication with her students which allowed for early alerts of academic trouble. In fact, she has had several students find that they were wrong about the grades they thought they had in her class; yet, by doing an early check-in, they have been able to problem how to change potentially their standing in her classroom before it is too late.

Burke Maxted: This semester, Burke has looked to Hope Theory to not only engage his students but to also solve obstacles for many of his students are currently struggling with passing the class. As he points out, “Certainly, motivation for some members of my class is an issue.” Despite a more challenging semester with his College 100 students, Burke has not given up on them and has been currently working on various creative tactics to engage his classroom. In a candid response to his current class obstacles, he explains that “[Currently] my students are meeting with either me or a Peer Leader as an assignment for class points to “check in.” […] I have followed the traditional implementation schedule and we’ve discussed the definition and importance of Pathways and Agency. We’ve viewed the PowerPoint Connie put together, identified campus resources, discussed Caleb’s story, and I continue to use the words ‘Pathways’ and ‘Agency’ in my lectures where possible and transfer this learning into each topic of the College 100 curriculum. […] While most of the Hope Scores were high, it is not translating into College 100 class success for some; perhaps, the issue is they don’t see their failing College 100 grade or their lack of interest in assignments as an obstacle.  I have attempted to suggest this in class indicating that ‘a current failing grade is an obstacle.’  As we move through the class, we might discuss the obstacles students have overcome and bring light to their success stories.  We might do this in an anonymous way and then post the success stories around the room and have everyone get up and read them.” Clearly, Burke’s response indicates he is willing to do whatever it takes to drive home the best and most effective parts of Hope Theory in order to encourage the most successful outcomes for his students.

What do you do to help students navigate challenges and make necessary changes?

Additional Resources:

Article – Researchers Apply Hope Theory to Boost College Success

Article – Hope Theory and First Year Learning

Article – Hope and Academic Success in College

PowerPoint – Hope Theory and Academic Success

Website – Shane Lopez

Buy on Amazon –  Making Hope Happen