Entry #7 – November 20, 2010
The Concept: Learning Community
The learning community is central to my teaching. I do my best to encourage students to work together, prepare thoroughly for class, and recognize that each of us has something to contribute and much to learn from each person in the community. For me, it is about gathering around a subject, concepts, and issues to explore them together in ways that go beyond what an individual can accomplish. My students and I have been particularly successful in creating a learning community our Environmental Law and Sustainability for Business class.
This photo is of our Spring 2010 group – an amazing learning community. We ended the semester with a potluck and shared presentations on students’ interviews with business managers. The interviews were about the pursuit of sustainability in each manager’s firm.
Here are words from three of my students about the results of our learning community: “The small learning community that the class offers makes this class unique. Most classes are large lectures and it is difficult to get to know the teacher and other students. [In this class] everyone has the opportunity to give their input every class period. Despite the fact that there are no exams, the assignments were very effective in helping us understand the class topics." (Megan Capiak – MSU Class of 2011 Comparative Cultures and Politics, Eric Platte- MSU Class of 2010 Supply Chain Management, Bryan Bussert- MSU graduate class of 2011, MS Accounting) Another student from our Spring 2010 group adds, “The structure of the course allows students to focus on learning the course material for the sake of gaining greater knowledge and understanding, rather than just learning the material in order to do well on an exam.” (C. Ross Stavoe – 2010 Supply Chain Management) I am grateful for the confirmation that my students and I are successful in our pursuit of a learning community.
copyright© 2010 by Paulette L. Stenzel for the photo and text. Words of students used with their written permission..
Paulette L. Stenzel
I am Professor Emeritus of International Business Law and Sustainability at Michigan State University (MSU). I am also a mom, learner, writer, violinist, environmentalist -in -process, traveler, and avid reader. I continue to teach part time at MSU and coordinate the Broad College Ethical Leadership program Additionally, I advise Spartan Global Development Fund - a student-driven microfinance organization.