Thursday, August 31, 2006

Note to Self

Remember that when you assign very difficult assignments to students that you always feel obligated to "model" those assignments for the students. This is why you have spent the afternoon working on a "presentation" that you have to give next week. Even though you are no longer yourself a student. This was not smart planning on your part. You are a dumb teacher who gives yourself homework.


psychgrad said...

Ha! Is there anyway to avoid this from happening? Is it possible to just not give a demonstration presentation?

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I don't give demonstration presentations -- except that I call it teaching about an ethical topic -- which I expect them to do and I do myself as part of my job :).

Shouldn't it be enough that you give them a set of guidelines?

Dr. Crazy said...

See, here's the thing. On the one hand it's a little bit of hand-holding. It's not terribly different from what I'd normally do, but it forces me to formalize my plans in a way that I normally wouldn't. That's the reason it can be a bother to me. And sure, I could just let them do whatever with it. But it's a fairly involved assignment (a 20-minute presentation, followed by a discussion-lead component, that has to cover a number of different rhetorical and research bases, and that requires a substantial hand-out along with a works cited page) and I don't want to watch crap all semester. If I'm going to turn the course over to the students in this way, I need to be sure they won't fuck it up totally. Because this means that I am NOT leading discussion or lecturing on all but 3 authors we're covering in the course. See, I'm bitching about the work I'm assigning myself in this regard, but the reality is that this little bit of work goes a long way.

At any rate, I did something similar last fall and I think it was really effective and ended up producing really stellar presentations from the students (even from the shy ones, who still have to do the presentation and don't get an opting out option).

Another ingredient in all of this is that at my institution it is unusual to have an assignment of this level of difficulty or expectation in at least 75% of the courses, and so students have literally never seen anything like it. They are totally afraid. After I give the model presentation, they should be less daunted, which I think is important.

MommyProf said...

I feel your pain. I wrote two papers and gave a presentation this week.