7.22.2009

Re: Bored Students

When I can sneak off for ten minutes, I'm going to do a video essay on the subject of student reactions and responses to various pedagogical strategies. Needless to say, I will frame the question in obscure terms borrowing from 18th century theology. But seriously, something like this: "What is the ontological status of- and our ethical obligation to- bored students in our classrooms?" Also, do we accept Locke's metaphor for the mind--the tabula rasa model?--which allows us to "pour" information into students' minds as fluid into an empty vessel? Or do we believe... well, something else (start either with Kant or Chomsky here)? If the latter, shouldn't we be trying to "draw-out," rather than to "pour-in?"

UPDATE --here's the video:

video

2 comments:

Mark said...

One additional thing would be to ask what obligation the students have themselves. Problem is that most do not come to college hungry for enlightenment or learning. College is now just an obligatory extension of high school for most middle class students. Isn't it?

Casey said...

Mark, I think you're right -- and I think this is a big part of what I was missing when I was feeling so fired up about trying to fire-up my students.

It's the difference between the first Great Awakening, which focused on "enthusing" church members, and the second Great Awakening, which focused on bringing the gospel to the unchurched masses...