Pedagogy of Love: Organic Praxis in Teaching and Learning

March
2009
Elva Salinas, Professional Development Coordinator, San Diego City College

Initiated in Spring 2006, Pedagogy of Love: Organic Praxis in Teaching and Learning is a professional development program linked to Learning Communities and designed for faculty by faculty with a focus on student retention and success. This program is supported by funding through the City College Title V Program, Basic Skills Initiative and college general fund.

The program elements include:

  1. A series of university extension (UCSD) courses taught by Dr. Patrick Velasquez, which are offered on campus for faculty development focused on transforming the classroom into a Learning Community-moving from theory to practice, developing teaching and learning strategies, and increasing the achievement of the college's diverse student population.
  2. Professional development training and training materials for Learning Community faculty, including workshops by education experts such as Dr. Vincent Tinto, Gillies Malnarich, and Dr. Noma LeMoine; StrengthsQuest assessment for enhancing collaborative teaching; and online faculty development resources.
  3. Development and compilation of integrated curriculum for Learning Communities (LCOMs) from basic skills through transfer levels in English, mathematics, history, Chicano Studies, health and exercise science, Black Studies and personal growth. Completed curriculum is utilized for training of new LCOM and general faculty.
  4. Learning Community retreats, including faculty, counselors, supplemental instruction tutors, support staff and administrators, focused on building community among peers and nurturing a passion for teaching and learning.
  5. Weekly Learning Community "cafes" during the semester for Learning Community team (faculty, counselors, supplemental instruction tutors and support staff) conversations, reflection and dialogue about teaching and learning theory/research and their Learning Community classroom experiences-this is the essence of organic praxis in teaching and learning!

Outcomes

  • ww Faculty Participation: From Spring 2006 to Fall 2008, this program has produced a ten-fold increase in the number of faculty trained to teach in Learning Communities.
  • City College Learning Communities have grown from 2 prior to Fall 2007 to 20 in 2008-09.
  • Although 2007-08 was a pilot year for Learning Community expansion, overall student retention and success was higher in the Learning Communities than in traditional, non-learning community courses.
  • One highlight is the success of the basic skills English reading and writing (English 51/56) Learning Community, which had a 100% passing rate. This outcome is especially significant because all English 51 students must pass a departmental final that has traditionally resulted in a 55% passing rate.
  • Ten faculty and administrators are utilizing the experiences and data resulting from the professional development program and the large-scale implementation of learning communities in their doctoral program in educational leadership with San Diego State University.
  • Beyond the learning communities, participating faculty, counselors and supplemental instruction tutors are broadening the impact on students campus-wide by sharing their experiences with colleagues and implementing effective student retention and success strategies in their non-learning community activities.

For more information please contact: Elva Salinas, Professional Development Coordinator at esalinas [at] sdccd.edu.

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