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Center for Teaching and Learning

Focused Inquiry Groups (FIGs) - BSI

Reading Apprenticeship: 2009-2010

The Reading Apprenticeship (RA) FIG completed its second year at Chabot College in 2009-10. The five original RA LIRA-trained FIG members remained in this year’s FIG, as did the additional four faculty who joined in Winter 2009. Two new faculty joined this year, bringing us to eleven members from disciplines across the curriculum. Four of our members attended the RA 2009 Summer Conference, and five attended the RA 2010 Winter Conference. In short, each member has received RA professional development training, and two of our original members, Cindy Hicks and Patricia Wu, provide RA professional development to community college faculty throughout the state.

This year the group discussions focused on:

  1. What do you want to understand better about your students and how they learn? More specific topics in this area include how to help students:
    • find their way into a text
    • build confidence in themselves as readers
    • develop a reader identity
    • become independent readers
    • build stamina to persist with difficult text
  2. How can you more fully incorporate metacognitive routines into your classroom?
    • introducing metacognitive routines early in the semester so that they become embedded in classroom culture
    • trusting more in our students by pulling back as instructors; students talk more/instructors talk less
    • encouraging students to engage each other metacognitively on a routine basis-discussing how they make sense of text to each other and allowing ample class time to do this
    • grappling with the content coverage issue; recognizing that metacognitive conversation requires class time and adjusting content to accommodate this shift
  3. How will you assess the impact of these classroom routines on student learning?
    • develop assessments that measure engagement and persistence, as well as success
    • work with IR to refine the Learning Engagement Survey to more closely align with our learning goals and outcomes
    • share and discuss student work to inform our pedagogical practices and build better assessment tools

Most of our discussions focused on the first two questions during August, September, and October 2009. Detailed minutes from these meetings are attached. The conversation shifted to the third question in November, and continued throughout the rest of the academic year. Most of our time was spent in sharing and discussing student work from our various courses. We looked at and/or discussed a variety of data, including:

  • Classroom videos that showed “think aloud/modeling” and “talking to the text” in practice
  • Student case studies (following an individual student’s progress through the semester)
  • Examples of adequate, good, and excellent student CERAs (Curriculum- Embedded Reading Assessments)
  • Student reading logs samples
  • Examples of business/accounting word problems given to students to solve in small groups
  • Pre and post MARSI (Metacognitive Awareness Reading Strategies Inventory) results.
Specific data and analysis are provided by each FIG member in the attached member reports.

We spent an entire meeting in Spring discussing the results of the Fall 2009 Learning Engagement Survey with Carolyn Arnold. We felt that many of the numbers did not really reflect what we were witnessing in our classrooms. In fact, some of the RA classroom student responses seemed to show lower engagement than in the general student population. So, we went through each question and eliminated some, and edited others. This was a very thoughtful discussion in that it encouraged us to name what we were seeing and how we thought this could best be captured in a statistical survey format.

Some of our members presented an RA introductory workshop session for the October 2009 Flex Day. Participants were introduced to the RA framework, and had the opportunity to practice RA metacognitive routines in small groups. The session was well attended and very well received. In October 2010 some of us will present an RA session at the “Strengthening Student Success” conference in Southern California.

This Spring we recruited heavily to form brand new RA FIGs for the next academic year. Cindy Hicks will facilitate on-campus RA professional development in Fall 2010, with other FIG members assisting. We expect between 12-20 participants. WestEd is hosting a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) training this summer for approximately ten Chabot faculty, and a separate RA FIG will be formed from this group. Some of the 2009-10 FIG members have agreed to mentor these new groups and individual members as they begin to incorporate RA routines into their classrooms across campus.


Reading Thinking Learning Presentation: Strengthening Student Success Conference: October 2010

Learning Engagement Survey Results, Fall 2010


Relevant Links


Each member of our group has been trained in Reading Apprenticeship through the West-Ed Winter Conference in Reading Apprenticeship. Three new members of our group will attend the Summer LIRA in 09.

Integral to the success of our FIG is having a diverse faculty from across the curriculum. As expert readers in their disciplines, Patricia, Wanda, Ming, Jane, Kent, and Nick have particular insight into how a scientist, accountant, mathematician, historian, or a second-language learner reads. Their expertise makes them the best practitioner to apprentice students on reading and then those students can apprentice other students. One of the intended goals of our FIG is to share best practices between our disciplines to serve our shared students. Our FIG allows for coordination across the disciplines to include reading instruction that fits our classrooms’ particular learning objectives and to move reading from the halls of English to the halls of every subject area.

The expansion of our FIG to math, history, ESL, and biology has been very exciting. We’ve started this new semester together evaluating our own reading processes. As a group, we’ve shared texts and how we, as “novice readers” approach these texts. In turn, the “expert” reader has illuminated his/her approach to the reading and helped us uncover the disciplinary knowledge required to successfully decoding the material. These sharing exercises have been eye-opening in unmasking how our students may feel when we assign material unfamiliar to them. This particular exercise has tapped into the affective response toward reading – both positive and negative. As a result of this exercise, we are learning to be transparent about our reading processes to our students to help them navigate the texts in the most productive, efficient way possible. In addition, this semester, Jane Wolford is running a history workshop, funded through the BSI Grant, where she utilizes Reading Apprenticeship techniques to assist her students in understanding the reading in her Women’s History class. She has approximately 25 students regularly attending these weekly sessions and she has shared positive results – both in student performance on examinations and in the social dimension of classroom instruction. We will be visiting her workshops and taking video recording to capture her students’ reading processes.

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