November 01, 2005

A little drifting in order?

Seminar Gang Head comments:
Why can't we just expore the world and maybe have some fun doing it. Where is authority? Shouldn't we, as individuals, keep our own interests at heart and the rest will take care of itself? Maybe there has been too much authority and we have forgotten how to look at 'the big picture' or the 'little picture' and make our own decisions.

Would a little drifting be in order? What can come of the chaos?

I agree! So there you are, facing 30-40 young people who have NOT kept their own interests at heart and have had perhaps too much "authority" (of the wrong sort). What do you do? If you give them directions they will follow them desultorily but only for a few minutes, then chat or stare out the window till you give them the next direction. But they don't want to stand out either, so they do pretty much what others around them are doing. If you give no directions, they will (except for the loners) happily chat for 90 minutes totally ignoring you. If you cancel class or don't show up, they will happily leave. What do you do?

One of the things I admired about a colleague who teaches the teaching-qualification course, was his ability to wait. Should I be more patient? Can I afford to wait a whole semester and then either have to fail the whole class for not doing any work worth speaking of, or pass them all and feel like a whore?

My colleague's and my classes (the ones we collaborate on) are very chaotic! (One visitor asked in a pointed manner "how do you control the students?", another shook her head in disbelief and walked out of the room). This chaos has been going on for over a year, and I think the results suggest that this approach, for the majority of students, is not bearing fruit (though there are some who are ready and they flourish).

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