Pedagogy – A Two-Way Street

Posted: March 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

  1. Elizabeth Izampuye says:

    This article reminds me of some of the points you were making in class today about student participation and the relationship between student and teacher. I think part of the cause of low attendance in this class and other classes in general is from students not feeling like they are getting anything out of their classes. In my Biology class (and most large classes like it), students will only show up for the quiz and midterm, and then not come to class. What they spend their time doing, I don’t know. I noticed today that after my Biology teacher gave us a 10 minute break, about half the class left, as we had already taken a quiz in the beginning so they no longer had to worry about it. In my Acting for Non-majors class, students will not show up because they are simply taking the class for a Fine Arts credit and since it is a relatively easy class, they do not feel the need to come every time. Honors IT courses are more complex because, while the Honors College strives to be a liberal arts college, students can still be uninterested in subjects not pertaining to their major or potential career. This class is nice because it is more structurally flexible, and many students, even I at some points, am not used to that. Coming from high school where attendance is mandatory, participation in frequent discussions earns you up to ten points, and most of class is spent analyzing books or novels that have no importance to our modern world, IT is quite an adjustment. It is an adjustment that I am learning to appreciate however, because of how it has helped me to adapt and grow in the ways I approach learning, discussing, and thinking. When it comes to teachers, I got to know my high school teachers well because my school was small. In college, I am not used to the distance placed between my professors and I. Especially in larger classes, I have found myself seeing my professor as some outside force who is more superior than me and of whom I can’t form strong relationships with. Teachers are busy people, and adding a whole list of names to memorize is probably not at the top of their list. I don’t blame them for it, and think that both students and teachers need to be better at closing the gap set forth in universities such as this one.

    • I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated your input over the last two semesters. It’s clear you’re a conscientious and genuinely curious student. We need more young persons like you. While I’m hardly the ideal teacher, I am doing my very best to make a difference. I mean that not only in the typical sense, but also in the sense that I’m trying to do things differently. While my classroom might not look all the revolutionary, initial appearances may be deceiving. In an age of screens and screen and more screens, it may well be somewhat rebellious to sit down and do nothing but discussion books. And in an age of bigger and bigger and bigger lecture halls, it may well be highly beneficial to have a small-group discussion. I understand the materials I assign can be very new and highly challenging to students. But at least I’m showing them the real deal and not just textbook summaries. Further, I’m trying to do my very best to mix and match historical texts with current news and contemporary topics of interest. For example, the EDM you love is a direct descendant of the electronic and minimalist composers I’ve posted on the blog. It might interest you to scroll back and give them a listen. On that note, I’ll new proceed to post on two female pioneers of electronic music, both from the 1960. I hope you get a chance to check them out.

  2. Elizabeth Izampuye says:

    And it is good that in this class we get to relate what we learn from philosophers of the past to the modern world. Most of my classes (except for ethics/biology) don’t connect what we learn to how it can apply in our present society. I constantly hear students asking “why are we learning this,” “how will I use it in the future,” etc. And I will definitely listen to those songs.

    Thank you!

    • I’m glad you find this class relevant to the real world. I’m doing my best to make it so. When I first proposed the course, my thought was to show students the path that lead the way to our current world. Many students, I know, find the materials dated and pointless to read now. My 2211 students consider major novels written in the 1990s be seen all but medieval. But the texts I assign are all relatively recent, and they did pave the road to the present moment. I hope our current situation will make more sense to young persons as they begin to see the discoveries and debates behind the here and now. Thank you for you interest and feedback!

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