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WTMA Rhetoric Classes - Thomas Hummel

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I signed my dd up for one of these classes today, but now I'm finding posts where people say he uses a workshop method for the class and doesn't give much individual feedback. He gets lots of great reviews, but I'm not sure this is exactly what I'm looking for.

 

If you have taken one of his classes, did your child get individual feedback on their work?

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Check the writing standards link at WTMA. (ETA link) All classes require periodic individual feedback now. (I haven't had a kid at WTMA since it was put in place but we were there the year before it was established and are glad those requirements are in place now.)

Edited by RootAnn
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My dd is in one of his classes this year and I am going to sign her up for next year also. Her writing has come on in leaps and bounds this year. He does use the workshop method but it is not just classmates giving their opinion of their fellow classmates writing. Their feedback is guided by what they are studying and also supervised by the teacher. The teacher also gives his feedback, sometimes agreeing with the classmates and sometimes disagreeing. I was not sure about this method before she started the class, but I have to say I think it is effective. I think it makes the student evaluate their own writing more than they would if they just turned it in and got teacher feedback ,in writing ,on their papers. Also, they have the opportunity to learn as each piece of their classmates writing is workshopped too. Some of their writing is evaluated just by the teacher, and I think I'm right in saying that they have had the opportunity to choose between feedback from him or the class on at least one assignment. I think that the success of this method depends on the individual teacher using it and their expertise. I also wonder if it is more successful with some students than with others, but don't know for sure since I only have experience with my student. My dd is a pretty good writer naturally, I think, and is sensitive and has quite a lot of personal insight, just to let you know what sort of student she is. I have been really pleased with her progress so far, and can see what she's learning spill over into her writing in other areas.

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We've only taken Expo I with Mr. Hummel, but he was flat-out amazing. On par with the best teaching I ever experienced K-graduate school. I can't wait for my DD to reach Rhetoric I age so she can have him again.

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Thank you to all who replied. It is encouraging to hear the positive reviews. Finding a writing class that is worthwhile is no easy task, imo. I thought I'd finally found a good solution, so when I came across the threads on the workshop method, it was pretty disappointing. Hopefully, it will work out as well for us as it has for some of you.

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So, for those of you who have taken the rhetoric classes, would you mind sharing what level you took and what kind of time commitment has been involved?

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I signed my dd up for one of these classes today, but now I'm finding posts where people say he uses a workshop method for the class and doesn't give much individual feedback. He gets lots of great reviews, but I'm not sure this is exactly what I'm looking for.

 

If you have taken one of his classes, did your child get individual feedback on their work?

 

Several of my kids have had Hummel in a variety of writing classes.  I personally do NOT like the workshop method.  In the instance of a younger child in one of the writing classes, it was not only a completely worthless use of time, I found that the feedback was terrible.  A 7th or 8th grader simply does not have the skills to evaluate a piece of writing and give competent feedback.  Much of the time the comments from students consisted of "I liked it."  That was it.  I am not saying I want my kids to only learn what they did wrong, but SPECIFICALLY what is working/why it works and what needs to be changed/how to change it.

 

I sat in on the classes with DC and saw there wasn't any real teaching being done.  It was basically all workshop.  When one DC was in a higher level class with work-shopping, it was slightly better because the high school level student has more skills to evaluate writing.  But again, at this level, I was looking for a really strong teacher to push my student to the college level.  Sadly, I didn't feel like the guidance I wanted was there. 

 

I supplemented all DC's writing classes when they were in that type of class to get them to where I wanted them to be.  I was looking for a class to help excel my students beyond my capabilities, but found the workshopping method does not do that.   I specifically avoid classes that have, as the primary method of teaching, the workshop method.  FWIW, my DC also felt Hummel was way too easy and they were not learning very much.  I asked DC why they thought he was such a popular teacher. To a child, each one said because he was so easy.  It was an easy class to get an "A" if you did the minimum - sometimes even less than minimum - requirements.

Edited by Hot Lava Mama
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Just curious- Are all of the WTMA Rhetoric classes taught with this method? We signed up for the new instructors class (can't remember her name at the moment- she's the French instructor as well) as I had to make a time work, and there were no samples for her classes available.

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Erica Schauer. (Elizabeth Edwards must have known her from Nebraska-Lincoln.) Since she's new, it is hard to tell how she will teach the class. Her "about me" section on the WTMA website is all about herself & teaching French. (Her description makes it seem as if she teaches more immersion & less grammar-based, which of course, appeals to some & mades others shudder.)

 

I can't remember who all has taught the different Rhetoric sections in the past, but I believe Dr. (Ms.) Brian taught at least one previously & she's a heavy user of the workshopping method. Chloe Richardson used to teach at least one, too, but I don't know if she taught workshop-method or not.

 

I appreciate Hot Lava Mama's addition to the thread. Some people's negatives are other people's positives. (Like, for me, reading the French teacher's description of how her class will run made me very glad I wasn't looking to WTMA for our French classes next year. But others, I am sure, would be thrilled.)

 

Has anyone else noticed how many Ph.D.s WTMA has teaching this year?

[Edited to insert the last name of the French/Rhetoric teacher after I looked up the proper spelling.]

Edited by RootAnn
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Erica Schauer. (Elizabeth Edwards must have known her from Nebraska-Lincoln.) Since she's new, it is hard to tell how she will teach the class. Her "about me" section on the WTMA website is all about herself & teaching French. (Her description makes it seem as if she teaches more immersion & less grammar-based, which of course, appeals to some & mades others shudder.)

 

I can't remember who all has taught the different Rhetoric sections in the past, but I believe Dr. (Ms.) Brian taught at least one previously & she's a heavy user of the workshopping method. Chloe Richardson used to teach at least one, too, but I don't know if she taught workshop-method or not.

 

I appreciate Hot Lava Mama's addition to the thread. Some people's negatives are other people's positives. (Like, for me, reading the French teacher's description of how her class will run made me very glad I wasn't looking to WTMA for our French classes next year. But others, I am sure, would be thrilled.)

 

Has anyone else noticed how many Ph.D.s WTMA has teaching this year?

[Edited to insert the last name of the French/Rhetoric teacher after I looked up the proper spelling.]

 

Yes! I actually did a double take. :) 

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I appreciate Hot Lava Mama's addition to the thread. Some people's negatives are other people's positives. (Like, for me, reading the French teacher's description of how her class will run made me very glad I wasn't looking to WTMA for our French classes next year. But others, I am sure, would be thrilled.)

 

I appreciate it, too. Thank you, Hot Lava Mama!

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Yes, I appreciate the feedback Hot Lava Mama offered as well!  Thank you HLM!  Rhetoric at WTMA was our plan for the future, but as I'm not a fan of the workshop method I'll have to give that more thought.

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Yes, I appreciate the feedback Hot Lava Mama offered as well!  Thank you HLM!  Rhetoric at WTMA was our plan for the future, but as I'm not a fan of the workshop method I'll have to give that more thought.

 

I didn't mean to turn you off of WTMA!  Please reconsider that!

 

Many of my kids have taken multiple classes from WTMA since it opened and we have been ecstatically happy with the classes and teachers.  I think I have had a DC in almost every one of the writing classes, too.  The ONLY thing I didn't like was the structure of the workshop classes.  They do not all do that.  It seems to me they have at least two different teaching styles in all the classes.  As you can see from PP above, different styles suit different people.  Some people love that style, others don't.  

 

I would encourage you to look at another teacher for the same course in WTMA.

 

:)

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Echoing HLM . . . WTMA will bend over backward to make sure you get a good fit. Email and ask the Dean or someone at WTMA your questions.

 

If you end up with a teacher that is a bad fit and the other section works time-wise and it isn't full, I think they let you switch. Plus, their refund policy is very generous time-wise.

 

Knowledge is power, so I encourage you to email. They can put you in contact with the teacher.

 

Mr. Hummel was very helpful in emails a couple years ago when I emailed to ask about his approach to student work (for the EW1 class). It was clear he was willing to work with my particular kid's reluctance to have her writing publicly commented on for the first part of the quarter until she was more comfortable with the format. I didn't end up putting her in that class, but he was very instrumental in helping me make an informed decision.

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I would encourage you to look at another teacher for the same course in WTMA.

 

:)

 

:iagree:   That's my plan.  I'll wait and see how the new teacher approaches the material and teaches her class.  

 

Echoing HLM . . . WTMA will bend over backward to make sure you get a good fit. Email and ask the Dean or someone at WTMA your questions.

 

 

 

 

My dd is currently taking two classes at WTMA and my ds took one last year, and we've been very happy with the instruction, expectations, and communication.  Honestly, I would prefer to use them exclusively, but they don't offer some things my dd wants to take.  I will contact the Dean and talk this over with her before making a decision.   :001_smile:

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My dd is in the Rhetoric 1 class and I don't have any experience of other classes and only with 1 dd, but I wanted to comment on the comment up thread about it being too easy a class. I don't know what grades the other kids in the class are getting so I can't comment on whether it is easy to get an A. I can see that you could put in a fairly wide variety of effort for this class, so I think it maybe suits some kinds of learners better. My dd is very self motivated and she seems to always push herself in this class, and doesn't slap something together and hand it in . Maybe some of the motivation is the teacher too. She is really learning because she is really pushing herself. Some of her class mates seem to write well and the feedback from them is probably what she takes to heart more than the more vague "I liked it" comments. Also she seems to get feedback from the teacher, when the class is talking about her piece of writing, and that guides her in her progress.

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