On Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the Prezell R. Robinson library a forum was presented by the Freshman Success Initiative and The Freshman Writing Initiative to discuss methods for cultivating critical thinking and improving writing in the classroom. “Right Place, Write Time” was the program’s name, and its goal was to foster St. Augustine’s University students’ success in writing and critical thinking.
The conference consisted of four writing workshops, which were used to present strategies that can be implemented with students. The workshops were aligned with the goals and objectives of the Freshman Writing Initiative (FWI). The Freshman Initiative project aims to improve the writing of students and their communication skills of first-year students.
The first workshop was “Risk and Resiliency: Utilizing Strategies for Positive Youth Development. “ That workshop discussed youth faced with numerous risk factors that negatively affect their educational journeys. The second workshop, “Social Media and the Classroom,” discussed how social media is something that can be used effectively to engage students and enhance learning at the college level in order to prepare to students for their field after graduation. The third workshop, “Writing and The Art of Teaching Writing,” discussed means of influencing students’ writing skills. The fourth workshop, “The Popular Classroom: Integrating Popular Culture,” dealt with strategies for utilizing popular culture in the classroom. Also, it discussed various ways of using popular culture in the teaching tools, models, and tactics for research and lesson creation.
According to the program’s description, the purpose of the event was to “discuss methods for critical thinking and improving writing and communication skills. The workshops showcased a group of invited facilitators whose presentations will provide participants with knowledge and strategies. In addition, FWI aims to enhance student learning by fostering an awareness of non-cognitive factors that contribute to students’ challenge and student success.
At least one student enjoyed the program. Alicia Hill, Junior, psychology major, said, “This program was very effective, especially for me because I am a psychology major who does and will be doing research projects, presentation, and papers in the future. However, the presentations during the workshops were well developed. I enjoyed the workshop ‘Social Media and the Classroom’ the most.”
— Shavona Hill