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Teaching Practices

Lectures

No matter the class, all times of direct instruction will involve significant student participation. Often, lectures are necessary to properly convey information and allow the student to grasp new ideas. Throughout the lectures, however, students will be frequently called upon to analyze what the just heard, solve a problem using what they have just been taught, or to use their experience and rational abilities to predict what comes next. There is never a time where students will come to class with the expectation of simply listening to the teacher talk for an hour and a half.

Sample Lecture
Readings

All readings will be assumed to be completed and understood. In furtherance of this aim, I neither burden students will exorbitant amounts of reading, nor do I leave them without any practical steps to ensure they understand and retain what they have read. Classes that involve readings will always involve me teaching the students the best practices for note-taking and self-determined engagement with the text, the usefulness of which extends into all of life, far beyond merely the class itself. Furthermore, all readings will have a direct relevancy to the work we do during class periods.

Homework

Homework takes one of two forms. Sometimes it is assigned for the purpose of keeping the class perpetually prepared for the ensuing class period. In this case, completing the homework allows the student to be sufficiently advanced in one area in order to be ready to begin the next step in the process of learning. This category of homework will be graded on the traditional assignment scale.

Other times it takes the form of promoting the retention and understanding of the topics covered in class. In this case, homework can be considered directed studying, where the student is preparing themselves for their exams and thus gaining a mastery of the material covered. This category of homework will be graded based on completion, since the true effect will be measure by the graded exams.

Quizzes and Exams

The purpose of quizzes and exams is likewise two-fold; first to motivate the students to commit what they encounter in class to memory, then as a retrospective appraisal of those efforts, allowing them to modify their study habits as need be. Since the best classes build each week upon foundations built the prior week, so to the best methods of examination are comprehensive, requiring the student to utilize not just what they have most recently learned, but also what they been learning throughout the whole class. Just as the best teaching involves giving the student a wholistic understanding of the topic, rather than just scattered information, so the best exams and quizzes require to student to reproduce wholistically what they have learned, rather than simply share disjointed facts.

Therefore, wherever possible, exams and quizzes will be made up of short answer and essay questions, requiring the student to perform analysis and communicate ideas effectively. This gives exams a third purpose: they reinforce the subjects studied yet further, providing students an opportunity to engage with the material in new ways.

Platform

All assignments, quizzes, exams, marking, and communication will be done using the Student Portal found at student.justinklazinga.com. All schedules and necessary information will be posted to the course page, accessible to students registered for the class through their Student Portal account.

Virtual classrooms will be accessible only through the Student Portal but will be hosted by Microsoft Teams. No application or third-party software is necessary to access the virtual classroom besides a web-browser. Students will need a webcam and a microphone to participate in virtual classes.

Classroom Management and Discipline

Students are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct while engaging with this class. Failure to do so may result in one or more of the following responses. The first and most common response will be for the teacher to remind the student of their responsibilities and ask them to modify their behavior. Other responses include contacting the parents with a report of classroom behavior, removing the student from the class session, and removing student from the class. In all areas, parents will be kept very well informed through email and the Student Portal of any classroom management or disciplinary issues.

Grades and Marking

Marking will be completed based on the individual class timeline found in the course page on the Student Portal. In no case will the marking timeline for any class contain periods in excess of 1 week, with the exception of term papers over 10 pages in length.

Grade scale:

97%-100%: A+, 4.00 GPA
93%-96.99%: A, 4.00 GPA
90%-92.99%: A-, 3.70 GPA

87%-89.99: B+, 3.30 GPA
83% - 86.99%: B, 3.00 GPA
80%-82.99%: B-, 2.70 GPA

77%-79.99%: C+, 2.30 GPA
73%-76.99%: C, 2.00 GPA
70%-72.99%: C-, 1.70 GPA

67%-69.99%: D+, 1.30 GPA
75%-76.99%: D, 1.00 GPA
Below 75%: F, 0.00 GPA