Saturday, September 15, 2007

intro to media studies

this semester i'm teaching intro to media studies. i teach two sections - one in the morning on lone mountain with forty students and one in the afternoon in the education building with thirty students.

the first week or so i tried to keep both sections at the exact same pace. i would give the same lecture, discuss the same examples, assign the same homework. the students appeared engaged but for me it felt extremely limited and limiting. too uptight.

during the second week of classes, i ran into jeffrey paris and over lunch he mentioned that when teaching two sections of the same class he significantly mixes them up. he said it was better for his students and better for him - it kept things fresh.

i took his advice and - ahhhh! in the short term, it makes more work (more prep time) for me. in the long term, though, it makes both classes more independent, more dynamic, more organic.

6 comments:

Andrew said...

I have often worried about matinee burnout diminishing the energy for the early evening show, and this is a brilliant - if intimidating -- solution.

david silver said...

nice way of putting it andrew.

let's see how much additional work it ultimately generates. so far, it's been extremely manageable.

K said...

I've had to use similar strategies when teaching multiple sections of first-year composition. It was mostly fine except that sometimes (usually just past mid-term) I got confused about which reading or assignment I should be reminding people about in each section...

I am just now proposing an intro to media course; is there a syllabus posted somewhere I might look at?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

I admire. My first year teaching fulltime I taught four sections of what we used to call bonehead English, and I taught exactly the same material in each class. But as the day progressed, I taught it faster. The last class usually ended 10 to 15 minutes short of the 50-minute period, and I would let them go. At the time, I liked to say that by the last time I taught the material it was culled and sharpened to a fine pedagogical point, that I had brought it at least into tight focus. Now I realize other explanations are possible....

Andrew said...

There is also that remarkably powerful variable that we only partially control (even as we fear it so): the audience factor. Same material, same energy, same focus, I've known to provoke totally different levels of response, in terms of energy and attention. My way of trying to control that these days is to ask each student to commit to being present during every moment of class, which starts exactly on time every session, like a sit!

david silver said...

hey k!

the syllabus can be found here.