So, I have spent half of the today grading rough drafts of paper #1, and I have had some interesting reflections about my teaching.
John mentioned something to me the other day about the papers (the final product the students turn in) being somewhat secondary in importance to the thinking and growing that happens in the process. I'm used to teaching journalism where the product is pretty central , so I didn't quite understand him until I read these papers today.
A lot of my students totally missed the mark. They wrote some very strong opinions on some hot topics instead of really questioning a problem or an issue. As I read, I started to see the patterns and I am going to take a huge portion of class time this week to have them rethink their issues. I put together some activities where they will be able to question and challenge each other to help them think more complexly. I realize I should have done this long before the rough draft was do. I guess I thought I had. Maybe they needed more examples. Has anyone else had this problem?
But I'm excited for class tomorrow because I feel like all the time reading and commenting on the rough drafts will really pay off as I focus the class time to fill these gaps in my teaching and their understanding. Go Team!
But then I also got a paper that was not a lot different then the paper we read in Grant's seminar at our training this year. It was about immigration. It was highly offensive to me. But I tried to keep it in context with what the students was trying to do. Instead of reacting, I am using the paper to really think about how my teaching is both strong and weak and how can make many concepts more clear for ALL the students this week. I found some very delicate but serious ways to address the issue with this student, and I was very glad we had talked about these situations as a group before I had to face it.
Anyway, that's what I am working on today. I'd love comments or posts about what you do if you realize you've got to back track a little. Any great classroom ideas for getting them to really think about their topics? Any strong paper examples would also be great. I'd love to see a variety of samples.