My Educational Foundation classes have about 25 students each; all plan to be future teachers. Both classes consist mostly of females (one has five males, the other four). The ethnicities are mixed, though the majority seems “white” (have to check exact numbers). There are no freshmen because this is a second level course required to enter the certification program (high demand). Two of the students in one class (section 2) were in my freshman seminar last fall and have already used IF Discussion Method.
I split the class into five groups (five students each, except for one group with four students). I used gender, ethnicity, and GPA’s to organize the groups, making sure each one included one or two strong students and a mix of other students. All groups defined their facilitation-reporting schedule on the second week of classes.
I plan to devote seven sessions (approximately 60 minutes each) to the IF discussion process. On discussion days, students are expected to prepare for the discussion by reading 1-2 articles addressing certain school problems. Additionally, facilitators are asked to identify & locate a current news report addressing an educational issue (somewhat) connected to the 1-2 reading assignments. The group discussions are being structured as follows: first, discuss the news report and identify concerns of interest; then select the greatest concerns and discuss potential ways to approach them, including ideas offered in the two readings assigned; finally, focus on two contrasting approaches and discuss potential implications of these approaches. The goal is to implement (in one session) the full IF methodology.