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New Strategy

September 8, 2009

In one of my courses I’m trying a new strategy. I asked students how many of them would like the class to be easy. They all raised their hands. Then I asked them if they thought that my boss would like it if I made my classes easy. Yea, that’s right students: my responsibility is to challenge you—that’s what my boss will reward me for! So I make no apologies for the fact that this course will have a heavy workload.

In time we’ll see if this will be welcomed as a nice bit of respectable honesty or if it will just alienate them and destroy my rapport.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 5:47 pm

    Your boss wants your course to be hard? Surely the university looks better if the kids all get good grades?

    And since taking a liberal arts subject is basically worth nothing in the real world its not like their future employers are going to care either…

  2. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    September 8, 2009 8:48 pm

    I’m surprised to hear that from you, Sophia! I thought for sure you would be like: “give ’em hell!”

  3. September 9, 2009 5:20 am

    The only boss worth listening to is Springsteen.

  4. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    September 9, 2009 7:34 am

    I always found Springsteen to be boring. I’d go for Mellencamp over Springsteen any day …

  5. September 9, 2009 8:40 am

    I really like strategies for causing students to think or otherwise interact with the “meta” of the class. I’ve been thinking lately that it would be fun to start a course by asking students to rate themselves on, for example, how intelligent they think they are, and how hard-working they are. Then, slap that up on a graph and put in front of their faces and challenge them to meet their own expectations… refer back to it after tests, etc, as needed.

    It seems to me that you must have younger students… intro class? I would expect that the kind of students who make it into more serious religious studies classes would be self-selecting and reject the idea of class being easy.

  6. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    September 9, 2009 10:08 am

    That sounds like an interesting idea; I’d love to hear how it works.

    On a similar note, I heard of a professor who once had a course evaluation sheet at the end of class where he asked students 1) what text did you like the least and 2) to what personality flaw do you attribute your dislike for that text?

  7. September 9, 2009 10:51 am

    Ewww… Mellencamp? I see our disagreements go beyond academic methodologies. ;)

  8. September 9, 2009 5:32 pm

    Oh you should totally make it hard. After all, if they are doing an economically worthless liberal arts degree they might as well be intellectually challanged by it, otherwise what is the point…

    I just don’t see why your boss would think so.

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