Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The last 5 minutes of a lecture

Do i spend the last 5 minutes of a lecture going backwards? Recovering the learning objectives, pointing out the route taken?
 Ive always cnsidered this the worst part of an essay to revisit the signposts instead of the takeaway points.
But its even worse when there is a rush to be heard above the sounds of of people packing up and leaving.
And its also ineffective use of time to be telling students about the assessments due at such points, this just creates a sense of panic if not doom.
On reading James Lang's article in  The Chronicles of Higher Ed on the last 5 minutes I'm amused by the story telling, my experience of reading Lord of the Rings was just as described. It had finished, but wait, there's more. And its a let down for the next umpteen pages as every loose end unravelled in the previous thousands of pages gets tightly tied off. No finish on a high, no curiousity left. Its all been sucked out.So how to put the curiousity back in to the closing spaces?

My preferance is to prompt a question.
I might have prompted an answer, but  possibilities need to be opened up.
Closure on thinking is such a horrid thing.
And, I would have thought an obvious thing in an educative setting where at least one of the challenges is to teach thinking. Albeit, this is a contested outcome of education- some would think our goal is to assist in the acquisition of content. 

Unfortunately in being eclectic magpies where we pick what works from other sectors such as selling and marketing, we conflate  education with buying and selling products. It is so much easier to say at the end of the day that I now know this and this and this, and it is also so much easier to measure such acquisitions. So we come to a Dale Carnegie way of thinking- tell them what your going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what youve told them. A process surely for treating a person as a content repository rather than someone with thoughtfulness.

Avoiding closure I take heart instead from philosophers of education such as

Rancière, with provocation to thoughtfulness, to emancipation rather than dead ends.

The last 5 minutes then I dedicate to thouughtfulness, curiousity, piquing wonder...


Thursday, June 09, 2016

The first five minutes of a lecture

I'm writing this because of the article in Times Higher Ed about the
the first five minutes
 Its a great attention seeker, but IMHO article does not deliver.

Nonetheless,  its a great provocation. So just what do you do in the first 5 minutes?
Do you, as this article suggests, return to the last session?
Personally, that does little for me.
I would rather have my attention grabbed and run with it. Given alarge part of my teaching has been about human growth and development  I am more inclined to think about what wa slife like for you when you were  5..6...7 etc
And from such imaginings just what do you 'imagine' the theories say of such times. Are they right? wrong Somewhere in between?

Up until now Ive tried to set a scene using music that relates to what is typical af the age  group discussed;
 for example
Barney and the I love you, you love me etc song for early childhood,
You have a fast car with Tracey Chapman   for early adulthood...
24 by Taylor Swift for early adulthood...
Ed Sheeran lego house for later stages of early adulthood
etc etc

 but this has tended to produce a mellow start to the session. I think the provocation to thoughtfulness may be better.