September Post – Pedagogical Initiations

So far things have been going fairly well. Students are talking about the potentially uncomfortable topics of the readings dealing with sexuality in mature ways and asking intriguing questions. I’m pleasantly surprised by their willingness to engage in discussions about reading and writing at 8am (with some gentle nudging). Like in Luke’s post, student questions and responses are helping me to refine the language I use in giving assignments or explaining a concept.

Here’s what I’m wondering about –

I’ve been doing a good deal of group/pair work in class – both analyzing passages and responding to each other’s writing. Students seem to be inwardly groaning when we do this and their desire for a straight lecture and for me to “explain” what everything means is, at times, almost palpable. I guess I’m probably worried myself about them thinking that I’m sloughing too much of the responsibility for interpretation onto them. I know there’s no magic formula for the ratio of group work to class discussion to lecture, but I am trying to find a balance that makes me feel comfortable and serves the goals of the class.