Thursday, March 31, 2011

Class Observation Project - Spring 2011

We consider our Class Observation Project so important that it is a semesterly event. Each semester, we cancel our intensive English classes for two days so that our Loyola Intensive English Program (LIEP) students may observe classes at Loyola University New Orleans.

The Class Observation Project is understandably one of the most popular of the numerous opportunities for our LIEP students to use their English in a real-life situation. The project provides a glimpse into the life of a U.S. university classroom, it helps our students assess their English skills realistically, and it draws them yet more fully into the larger Loyola community.

Earlier in our blog, we gave you a taste of this project from Fall 2010. This post will give you a feel for the variety of classes observed in Spring 2011. Below are excerpts from the written reports of seven of our LIEP students.

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On Thursday, February 17, I observed Photography taught by Professor Leslie G. Parr. The topic of this class was light and shadow. Professor Parr began her class by asking about her students' experience while they took pictures. Then she showed examples of pictures for the next assignment. Finally, the students moved to the front of the classroom and sat on the floor, where they looked at each other's pictures and talked about their strong and weak points.

I enjoyed this class because I also like to take pictures. I usually use a digital camera, but the class used film cameras and black and white films.

I especially appreciate that Professor Parr welcomed us as visitors, showed interesting example pictures, and gave everyone a chance to participate by examining other students' photos.

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OBSERVATION OF SPANISH CLASS by Michael Drake of Venezuela

On Friday, February 18, I observed Intensive Spanish Conversation taught by Professor Blanca Anderson. This class was my favorite, not just because it was a class in my native language, but because I liked the topic and because the way Professor Anderson taught the class was very dynamic and fun.

The class could only talk in Spanish. I participated a lot because Professor Anderson asked me to. The class first talked about the U.S. government's fight against drugs and organized crime. The class also discussed the U.S. policy about cocoa plantations in Latin America and the way the United States tries to enforce its rules in foreign countries. Professor Anderson led the discussion in Spanish, and all the students contributed whenever they had something to say.

After this, the students formed groups of two or three. Three native speakers of Spanish then came to the class, and each one, including me, sat with a group and talked in Spanish. After five minutes, we switched groups and talked with others.

I enjoyed this class and the way Professor Anderson taught. I wouldn't mind going voluntarily whenever Professor Anderson needs me to. I left this class knowing things about Latin America that I hadn't known before.

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OBSERVATION OF MUSIC CLASS by Andrzej "Andy" Uscilowski of Poland

On Thursday, February 17, I observed Jazz Band taught by Professor John Mahoney. The class was preparing for a concert.

Professor Mahoney began by preparing his notes and having the class warm up the instruments. After that, he told the class what they would play to prepare for the concert. While they were playing, Professor Mahoney made notes about their performance. He then gave the class these notes, and they played another piece. Sometimes, Professor Mahoney heard a mistake, and he stopped the piece and told the class what was wrong.

I loved this class because I had the opportunity to hear different types of live jazz - and for free.

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On Thursday, February 17, I observed Basic Ballet II taught by Professor Laura Zambrano. Professor Zambrano was very warm to me.

The ballet classroom has many mirrors and bars to help students practice. I liked the class atmosphere and the students. These students practice very hard and move very gracefully.

Professor Zambrano was very attractive when she was teaching. A smile was always on her face, and her voice was pleasant. She clapped her hands and called commands. The students followed her commands.

Professor Zambrano's class let me remember my childhood. I learned ballet when I was a child.

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OBSERVATION OF HISTORY CLASS by Merve Babayigit of Turkey

On Thursday, February 17, I observed United States History from 1865 taught by Professor David W. Moore. The topic of the class was historical change in the United States in the nineteenth century. Professor Moore's teaching method was lecture and discussion. He also used PowerPoint and showed some pictures.

Professor Moore talked about evolution and pragmatism. He spoke about the improvements in schools. He gave some statistics about schools and showed the difference among African American colleges, men's colleges, and women's colleges. He also discussed reading in the nineteenth century: newspapaers, magazines, books, novels. Finally, he talked about sports. Professor Moore sometimes asked questions to the students.

I enjoyed the class, and I understood most of it because Professor Moore was clear and the topic was interesting.

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OBSERVATION OF RELIGION CLASS by Sister Kim Dung Bui of Vietnam

On Thursday, February 17, I observed Introduction to World Religions taught by Professor Alvaro B. Alcazar. The topic of the class was Judaism. The main point was this idea: "Let your love for Me vanquish your hatred for Him/Her."

The class discussed two important Hebrew expressions. "Takanat hashavim" means "compassionate restoration of foreclosed property," and "Tikum ulan" means "Fix me and fix the world." The class also discussed Abraham's faith as seen in the biblical book of Genesis and the ways that God increased Abraham's faith. The interaction among Professor Alcazar and the students was respectful, open, and friendly.

I liked this class. I was touched by Abraham's faith. He trusted in God his whole life.

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OBSERVATION OF BIOLOGY CLASS by Sister Tuyet Mai Nguyen of Vietnam

On Friday, February 18, I observed Cultural Biology taught by Professor Kathy Anzelmo. The topic of the class was the heartbeat. Professor Anzelmo began class with a 15-minute quiz. Then, she showed a PowerPoint with pictures of the heart and explanation, followed by the students' questions.

The content of the class included aspects of the heartbeat, including the pulse, systole, diastole, the sinoatrial node, the atrioventricular nodes, and measurements with electrocardiogram. Professor Anzelmo also talked about types of blood vessels: arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins.

The relationship between Professor Anzelmo and the students was very good. The students felt free to ask questions when they didn't understand. The students were also very respectful and helpful to each other.

I enjoyed the class very much. I had some difficulty with the academic words, but I could follow the topic more clearly with Professor Anzelmo's PowerPoint presentation.

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Our next post will report on our visit to Destrehan Plantation.

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