Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Resolutions, Changes and Tomorrow

Second day of the year and second post of the year - if I keep this up I may exceed my 300 entry target for 2008.

But realistically that isn't going to happen - I'm already behind in my reading for pleasure and attempts to increase exercise and decrease weight!

One step at a time

I did take pictures both yesterday and today. Between trying to relate my daily activities to a blog entry and looking for picture taking opportunities I am becoming more aware of what is happening during my day. I've talked about this before in an early blog entry - becoming mindful is a difficult but very satisfying skill.

I am working hard to get my courses organized for the new semester which starts next Monday (well, officially Wednesday for me as that is when I meet my first group of students)

I am trying something very different for both classes - in a way I am becoming more directive. I regularly check the comments on Rate My Professor to see what my students are saying. One student wrote "If you like being in control of your learning you will enjoy his classes. If you need more direction choose someone else."

I have always held the opinion that the best learning a person can do is the learning that they want to do and that they control for themselves. This has meant that I provide a very long rope for my students. Many of them use the rope to find and create and benefit from their learning experiences. Others use the rope to hang themselves out of frustration with me. "Why don't you just answer my question?" is something I hear from some students. And my answer is always simple - if I tell you the answer you will hear me and forget it - if you create the answer you will always remember it and perhaps you'll remember the process you used to create that answer.

Teachers are alone with children in their classrooms - they have many problems to solve with very few 'answer providers' available. They have to know how to learn, how to teach themselves and how to enjoy that process.

But the courses I am teaching this semester require something different, I think. Or at least I want to experiment with a different style.

My undergraduate classes will still have a lot of discretion built in for the student but because there is so little actual contact time this semester things will be considerably more structured than in previous years.

My grad course is full of content - it is the overview of research in the social sciences. And I want to make sure that all bases are covered - so lectures, powerpoint presentations, etc. will be the order of the day. But I am working hard to have some active, hands-on aspects to the course too.

Perhaps tomorrow will see more movement on my other resolutions

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