College Educators Share Approaches to Scaffolding Engagement and Critical Thinking
Many faculty feel that student engagement has been on the decline since the educational disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a workshop series this spring titled “Reviving College Reading in Today’s Learning Environments,” college educators are sharing how the Reading Apprenticeship framework helps them navigate today’s complex landscape and to scaffold deeper engagement, critical thinking, and sense of belonging as students transition to college. Sign up now to join the last session on May 12.
May 12, 10:00-11:30amPST: “A Literacy Garden: Plant the Seeds and Watch Your Students and Colleagues Grow” will focus on how to engage colleagues in conversations and professional learning communities centered on our teaching practice and disciplinary literacy.
Lora Bagwell, Assistant Dean of English and Associate Reading Professor at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, will share her journey of bringing Reading Apprenticeship to her courses, students, colleagues, and campus. She will share the successes and challenges of the process and provide practical advice for planting your own literacy garden.
College educators across levels and subject areas are invited to explore how the Reading Apprenticeship framework can help orchestrate active, culturally responsive, and engaged learning experiences for our students.
The first three workshops in the series highlighted the way that educators from different contexts utilize Reading Apprenticeship to support student learning.
The series started with “Reading to Learn Across the Disciplines: An Introduction.” Participants reviewed the Reading Apprenticeship framework and engaged in text-based metacognitive conversations which activated some of the core concepts that animate Reading Apprenticeship learning environments, such as that reading is problem solving, that everybody sometimes feels like an “insider” or an “outsider” with certain texts and discourses, and that educators tend to develop blind spots to their insider status when it comes to the texts in their discipline.
The second workshop, facilitated by Dr. Laura Garofoli, Professor of Psychological Science at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts, focused on the power of metacognitive question-posing to drive students’ persistence with and processing of challenging texts. In “The Reading Apprenticeship Framework as a Roadmap Back to Student Self-Confidence and Re-engagement in Our ‘Post-COVID’ World,” Dr.Garofoli described her methodology of “teaching metacognition as giving honor to the thoughts, feelings, questions, and connections that arise as students engage with learning materials. Anything that your brain gives you counts!” Participants reviewed brain-based research highlighting the importance of student-generated questions for learning, and then practiced mapping their “thoughts, feelings, questions and connections” with a text set focused on the impact of sleep on learning.
The third workshop also introduced participants to deeper scaffolds for helping students generate connections which lead to academic engagement. In “Scaffolding Thinking for Deeper Academic Conversations and Writings,” Caren Kongshaug, a College Readiness Instructor from Bellingham Technical College in Bellingham, WA, presented several notetakers she has devised to support three distinct “thinking pathways”:
- Pathway to an Informed Opinion: Supporting students to build from gut reactions and bias to an informed stance on a text.
- Pathway to Real World Applications Supporting students to build from comprehension to application of a text.
- Pathway to Expanding Disciplinary Thinking Supporting students to build from the synthesis of prior knowledge and new ideas to advanced thinking in a domain.
Nika Hogan, Reading Apprenticeship College Coordinator and the organizer of the workshop series, says that the sessions so far provide support for dealing with the ways the world has changed while reinforcing the ways that learning stays the same. “It’s still about transparency: these are the rules of engagement; this is how we are going to work together. It’s still about creating a culture of inquiry and providing opportunities for students to dig into text and to construct their own understanding. It’s still about asking learners to share their thinking, but what we are seeing from the innovations that these faculty are sharing is that a slightly deeper level of scaffolding helps today’s students marshall the focus to make connections to text that they can build on for academic purposes.”
For more information or to begin your own journey with Reading Apprenticeship, register for the My 12 workshop, or explore these resources:
Reading for Understanding, third edition