Inviting Students to Work Alongside Us

When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors invited a law student and I to be co-authors of some entries he was writing for the Dictionary of American History. I’m sure he easily could have cranked out the entries himself, probably requiring less time than meeting with us to draft them did. However, I suspect that he invited us into the writing process because he knew it would offer us a first foray into having our work published and a window into the world of the life of an academic. On Friday, several of the students in my blended learning class will be attending NCAIS Innovate conference with me to present on the class. It takes a bit more effort to include students in one’s professional activities- permission forms to complete, schedules to coordinate, etc.- but I think such experiences can be powerful for both students and teachers. Students have the opportunity to get a glimpse at the work that teachers do outside the classroom and also to share the work they do in the classroom with a larger audience. Teachers have the opportunity to hear student voices, which might differ in emphasis or content from the perspective of a teacher sharing about the work of the classroom.

I’ve also taken a cue from my professor and asked a student to co-author an article I’m currently working on about the class. I quote students in articles and my blog posts frequently, but this is the first time I’ve asked a student to co-author. While I don’t necessarily expect that she’ll become a teacher or writer, I hope the opportunity will be a beneficial one. I’m also excited about having her input on the article.

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2 thoughts on “Inviting Students to Work Alongside Us

  1. Along the same lines, when students are present and involved in teacher-oriented professional development activities, the sessions are more dynamic and productive. Thanks for another inspiring post.

  2. Meredith,

    Excellent idea born out of a teacher who had great vision. So many of the speakers on the Ed circuit talk about allowing students to engage in the subject matter using the language and tools that professionals do: immerse them in the world of the topic and let them speak its lingo. What you are doing is just that.

    The layers you are peeling back for them are astounding in that they are seeing that the work you do with them has value to not only you as their teacher, but to other teachers around the world.

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