UNH 3030, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045

#Team-Based Learning, Peer Evaluation, Grading
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Presented by: Deborah Rifkin, PhD, Music, Itahca College

Grading typically involves a hierarchical power arrangement, in which a teacher evaluates a student. It is well established that cooperative, small-group work benefits learning, yet it is not as common for these principles to be applied towards grading and evaluation. Nonetheless, the benefits of team-based learning can also be harnessed for peer evaluation. Collaborative group work can transform an evaluative process into a supportive learning team, which helps raise the achievement of all students, build positive relationships among students, and keep students motivated and energized. In this workshop, I will share examples of effective team-based learning and peer evaluation exercises, in which students undertake multiple roles as Explainer/Demonstrator, Listener, and Evaluator. Through group interaction, students gain insights about different learning styles, develop skills for explaining their ideas in multiple ways, become more mindful listeners, and gain critical evaluative experience. In other words, team-based evaluation allows students to participate in a much fuller learning experience, compared to traditional teacher-student assessment models. Despite the considerable benefits, there are also challenges to peer evaluation. Students are sometimes reticent to evaluate each other. If students are not prepared properly, peer evaluation can introduce an uncomfortable dynamic among classmates. In addition, students’ self- and peer-reporting of skills acquisition may not be as informed or reliable as a teacher’s evaluation. The workshop explores and addresses these concerns, sharing several strategies to mitigate these potential disadvantages. Some of these strategies include crowd-sourcing confidential feedback, formalizing evaluation procedures, and shifting focus of the evaluation to group interaction skills rather than on individual achievement.

Deborah Rifkin (Associate Professor of Music Theory) is an award-winning music theory and sight-singing teacher at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. She has taught at some of the top conservatories in the country, including the Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, Oberlin College Conservatory, and Ithaca College. Her research interests include the music of 20th-century neo-tonal composers, feminist and narrative theories and their contributions to music analysis, and the pedagogy of musical skills. She has published articles in Music Theory Spectrum, Theory and Practice, twentieth-century music, Ex Tempore, and Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. She earned her Ph.D. in music theory in 2000 from the Eastman School of Music. Deborah started out as a classical violinist, earning prizes and prestigious seats in regional orchestras in her youth and graduate studies. She studied with Janet Baker, Andrew Jennings, and Hamao Fujiwara. Now, she is an avid fiddler, performing and teaching Klezmer, Celtic, and contradance styles each summer at Folk College, in the hills of Pennsylvania. (http://www.simplegiftsmusic.com/folkcollege/index.html).

Throughout twenty years of teaching college music majors at some of the top conservatories in the country, (Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, Oberlin College Conservatory, and Ithaca College,) Deborah noticed that aural skills develop more slowly than other kinds of learning, such as written or kinesthetic skills. Intrigued by this phenomenon, which suggests that the learning process for aural skills could be different compared to other types, she collaborated with Philip Stoecker (from Hofstra University) to develop a learning taxonomy geared specifically for music classes. Deborah and Philip sought adaptations of Bloom’s taxonomy that catered specifically to music learning by accommodating the time-sensitive nature of performed arts, rather than the more spatial emphasis that arguably persists with most learning theories. Their resultant music learning taxonomy, which integrates recent advances in cognition and pedagogy studies, has garnered national attention not only among college music teachers, but also in general education communities invested in evidence-based scholarship of teaching and learning, such as ISSOTL (http://www.issotl.com/) and the Lilly Conferences, (http://lillyconferences.com/)

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to teachers@lmu.edu or x85866. 

This program will be video and audio taped and may be podcast. By your willing participation in the program, you expressly and irrevocably consent to be photographed, videotaped and/or audio taped and quoted/cited. The films, tapes, and other digital recordings will become the property of the Center of Teaching Excellence, LMU.

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