Do students have to read my mind? I don’t know if you guys do this, but I, ehrrrrrm, have a tendency to project myself and my professional (or academic) experiences every time I read something for our class. Fulkerson was no exception. Yes, I quite enjoyed the discussion of all things expressive / mimetic / rhetorical / formalist, as well as Hirsch’s ‘relative readability,’ but by the time I reached the end of the article, I had two thoughts.
#1. Zoinks, Shaggy, it’s quite amazing that students learn ANYTHING at all. (Steve’s theory as mentioned in our last class was that students don’t learn so much as discover ways to navigate through academia. Depressing.)
#2. How often do students have to read MY mind? In reference to the final paragraph: “The assignment seemed to call for writing that would be judged expressively, but the teacher’s brief comment was not written from an expressivist point of view.” Sigh. How often do I project unholy expectations on my poor little lambs? How often do I traumatize them with ambiguous assignments that torment their very souls? Inshallah (Lord willing), not often. Surely it happens, for every once in a while I catch myself and immediately clarify…so how often?
Wouldn’t it be nice to be perfect?
According to Hairston, a change is a-comin’. An all-out paradigm shift. Our class readings and discussions point to the very same idea. I suppose the correct question to ask in this regard is, “How will we instructors prepare for this change?” I try to remain fairly adept in technology, hard news, and pop culture, with a slice of methodologies explored at whatever most recent conferences I’ve attended. (Forget Athens though. I was too busy eating, drinking, and being merry in post-presentation bliss. I mean come on, it was ATHENS….) It’s my belief that these four can be our allies in morphing into that professor that we know and love. (My guy is Robin Williams from ‘Dead Poets Society.’ Carpe Diem!) Technology can be a useful tool to carry out whatever message we want to deliver loud and clear to kids half of my age. Hard news is current events, which can often affect what we’re doing and when we’re doing it. (Here in Qatar my Egyptian students created a proposal for a cultural exchange to promote the recent Arabian Spring. VERY relevant.) Pop culture? Trivial, yes, but it normally grabs my students’ attention if I bring up Tinie Tempeh or Green Lantern as a class discussion. Methodology? Yes, one has to wade through a slew of drivel, but every once in a while there is a golden nugget out there that contributes a magical dynamic to the classroom. One 5060 colleague last week suggested that I empower my film students for Fall 2011 by actually letting them offer what we should study in the class; even if it’s just a portion of classroom dynamics, methinks that those are words of wisdom.