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GTA Observation Report

Observer: Hannah Huber GTA Observed: Ruthanne Hughes

Course: English 101-041 Date & Time of Observation:


Friday, Nov. 11th 2016, 2:20-3:10

# of Students in Attendance: 18/24

Activities: (effectiveness of lecture, group work, short writing, etc.)


Strengths:
Conducted well-detailed, multi-step peer review workshop; began with clear explanation of assignment
steps; responded positively and engagingly with student questions during group work; students seemed
engaged in assignment details and group work guidelines; Her approach to peer review was innovative and
commendable—it was a multi-step process with students grouped in pairs: 1) Students individually wrote
down three concerns about their drafts; 2) Students verbally shared their three concerns with one another; 3:
Students exchanged papers and read them, focusing on the three concerns articulate by partner; 4) After
reading, they exchanged revision guidance pertaining to three noted issues and took notes on their partner’s
advice; 5) Students then wrote notes on peer’s paper and commented on aspects outside of three issues for
the remainder of class time.
An admirable moment in Ruthanne’s lecture occurred toward the end of class when she addressed questions
about the integration of secondary sources—She told students to imagine that they were hosting a dinner
party for their sources and that, as the host, they must direct the conversation, via quotations, in one
direction that supports a main idea. I liked this analogy and it seemed to resonate with her students.

Weaknesses:
It may have been more effective for Ruthanne to have addressed the integration of secondary sources at the
start of class, perhaps by giving a mini-lecture on how to introduce, directly quote, and contextualize content
from academic articles.

Management: (effective time and behavioral management, instructor preparedness, etc.)


Strengths:
Managed time very proficiently; seemed well-prepared for day's activities--had exercises for the day
projected on the board; students seemed engaged and motivated by detailed structure of in-class exercises;
instructor also showed effectiveness in managing disruptive behavior and addressing proper/improper use of
technology in classroom—instructed students not only to cease cell phone use, but to also keep them off
their desks and to put them away.

Weaknesses:
At one point, just after Ruthanne had addressed cell phone misuse, a girl two seats next to me in the back-
row, who came in late, answered her cell phone without bothering to get up and leave the room. Her
conversation was brief. I don’t Ruthanne had time to notice it, because she was in the front of the room
answering a student’s question and a majority of students were engaged in discussions with partners. [What
follows is a comment that belongs under “Strengths”]—It did seem clear, however, that Ruthanne was
aware of the student’s disrespect for the class. She treated the student kindly when the student asked her a “I
don’t where to begin”-type question, but was sure to tell her that she could not spend much time helping her
with this issue. Then, Ruthanne briefly answered her question and move on to another student who seemed
prepared for the workshop and had a more meaningful question for her.

Delivery: (sufficient volume, instructional clarity, explicit opening and closing etc.)
Strengths:
Instructor's teaching personality seemed straightforward and assertive, while also friendly and
accommodating; firm & clear speaking voice; knew students by name and personalized with individuals; did
well to articulate opening & closing of class; ended class by going over upcoming assignments and due
dates.

Weaknesses:
May have helped to spent a few moments reviewing overall essay goals at the start of class and briefly
engaging students in a troubleshooting of sorts regarding issues in meeting assignment requirements during
draft process—this may have helped to stimulate quick responses by students to the first step in the peer
review exercise.

Technology: (effective board, computer, handout, worksheet use, etc.)


Strengths:
Ruthanne utilized the board extremely well. She had typed up the class’s opening announcements ahead of
time. She began class with announcements that promoted student involvement in university events, and she
had ready flyers and other promos that were projected onto the board. This made for a very efficient opening
announcements process. She also used the board to project guidelines for each step of the peer review
process. Projected guidelines for peer review were brief, concise and effective.

Weaknesses:
Just to reiterate what I stated in previous category: It may have helped to project on the board the assignment
guidelines—between giving announcements and beginning peer review workshop—to reinforce overall
goals for Essay 3.

Overall Assessment/Additional Remarks:

Kudos to Ruthanne for getting students involved in campus events. At the start of class, she was sure to describe
up-coming events in fun ways that inspired verbalized excitement from students (Ruthanne’s mentioning that
one of the events offered free pizza may or may not have been the reason for such enthusiasm :D). She also
showed her compassion for students’ trajectories at the university—during her announcements, she reminded
students that course signups for the spring were coming up and made suggestions on how students should
prepare themselves.
Overall, Ruthanne seems to be a very supportive, helpful and approachable instructor. She has an assertive, no-
nonsense, yet always positive, presence that does well to motivate students and keep them on task. She takes the
time to motivate students, collectively and individually. For example, as they workshopped their papers—she
reminded them of the importance of peer review—giving specific examples and reasons for how it is helpful.
She also seems very prepared and on top of deadlines and class trajectory. Her teaching personality is laudable,
and her students seem to be respectful toward--and appreciative of--her.