Friday, March 27, 2009
We are probably less original than we think we are
I teach an upper level seminar in German literature this semester. The goal in this course is not just to give students an overview of modern German prose, but also to hone their skills in a foreign language. Because I expected many students to be hesitant to talk in class in a language in which they know they are not fluent, I required them to meet with me one-on-one for casual conversations. Most class members seem to enjoy this chance to meet their instructor in a more personal fashion. But as they probably don't want to share too much about their life with me, they tend to talk about their other classes. What really shocked me here, was to hear how much fashion-driven we as instructors seem to be. Almost all the students, for example, are currently taking classes in which the instructors require them to blog and/or to podcast themselves. I, too, require my students to blog. And I honestly thought I had come up with an original idea. Well, I did not. My point is, that it might be a good idea to talk to students about their "other" classes occasionally. We might gain new insights into why some of our ideas on how to make our teaching more original, inspiring, etc. are not being met with quite the enthusiasm we expected.
Posted by BFaehmel at 3:47 PM