Nash Community College True Blue Core – Professional Learning Community Coordinator / English & Humanities Instructor, Renee Martinez, presented at the North Carolina English Teachers Annual Conference held in Raleigh October 9 – 11.
She shared various strategies to engage students leading to increased student participation and comprehension. “It was my goal for instructors to leave the session with practical tools and the knowledge to implement them immediately.”
Educators recognize that students have different learning styles. To help students achieve success in the classroom instructors can adapt a natural teaching style to reach more students. English and literature classes particularly lend themselves to a variety of delivery methods to help students learn more effectively. In her session, participants discussed the characteristics of multiple learning styles and the impact on students and instructors.
Nash Community College implemented enhanced and ongoing professional development regarding pedagogically sound practices two years ago. “As an instructor, I discovered that these engagement strategies helped not only make writing and literature more engaging for my students, but the quality of essays, test performance, and class discussions greatly improved.” Martinez taught conference attendees effective strategies that can be taken back into the classroom and implemented easily, with little preparation.
During her presentation she explained some of the most effective strategies used in her English Composition and Critical Thinking classes. These include the 10-2-2 lecture style, the 10 Commandments with Gallery Walks, and Socrative.com. 10-2-2 is a lecture strategy that reinforces the idea that instructors must pause so students have a chance to reflect and absorb what is being learned. The 10 Commandments activity helps students review and understand expectations. It can be applied to many instructional areas from classroom management to rules that must be followed for MLA formatting and documentation. Combined with the 10 Commandments strategy, Gallery Walks get students up and moving around the room in groups with clear guidelines and expectations set by the instructor. Socrative.com is a website that can be used in a variety of ways to engage student learning. For example, in Martinez’ classes, students are given permission to use their phones during class. “With the demand on instructors to retain students and ultimately prepare them for degree completion, we need to use innovative techniques that will engage all students to help them learn and be successful in the class,” she said.
“Today’s students are constantly bombarded with images and sounds causing them to feel overwhelmed in a traditional lecture-based classroom,” she explained. “As instructors, we are charged with engaging students in different ways in order to increase participation and comprehension.” The strategies Martinez outlined are included on her website: crmartinez.weebly.com. Martinez graduated with an Associate in Arts degree in English from Peace College and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in English from East Carolina University.