Thursday, 28 January 2010

Teaching adventures

I've had a complete reshuffle this term in what I teach. In particular, I've been taken off a module I'd have been teaching for the fourth time, and placed on one that I have taught topics similar to in a very different environment. I am something of a newbie, in other words. I have a good enough idea of the material, but am going to be making a lot of use of technique this semester! It will be interesting to see what can be translated from one course to another. Luckily I have a good mentor and module convenor, so can ask them for advice. Believe me, this is important!

Here is an overview of I want to do:
-For every seminar I want each student to come prepared with a point of interest about the reading and a question it raises for them. You can do a lot with these.
-Have each student think of a question about the topic, write it on an index card and stick it in a box. Each one then pulls a question out. They end up answering each other's questions in groups. This emphasises that students are producers of knowledge rather than passive consumers.
-The module convenor has already asked that we get each student to 'adopt' an EU member country and pay it special attention when reading up on the issues. The first thing I am going to do is ask them to come to seminar #2 with a list of 5 facts relating to 'their' country and its relationship to the EU. I also hope to have some kind of debate based on the country adoptions, but it depends what the balance is like for each issue!
-I want to find something to do that involves feeding the students. Political theory provided a whole load of opportunities for introducing biscuits, cake and chocolate into the proceedings. So far the EU hasn't, apart from the chocolate bar the convenor gives out as a quiz prize in some lectures. I'd rather link it more directly than that.
-I'm looking forward to covering the expansion issue - full of questions of identity, inclusion and exclusion, this is the bit of the course which is intrinsically interesting to me rather than interesting as a new teaching experience. I just need to work out how to structure it.

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