Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparing For Classes Again

State & Local Government class starts Saturday. This is something of an interesting experience, since the last time I taught this class I came in part-way through the term as a replacement. This time I have 23 students signed.

Intrinsically, this isn't an exciting class, and teaching it in a 3 1/2 hour format one day a week aggravates that. But understanding how your government works (and why it sometimes doesn't work) is like knowing how to keep your car running: you darn well better understand it, or the consequences will be at least expensive, and at worst, lethal.


  1. On a class like this, I wonder what pre-conceived notions the students come in with. Do you end up un-teaching a lot?

    And do you worry about your own biases that may come in?

    When I taught English, it was mostly cut and dried, my only problem was convincing the students that they could indeed learn to speak it. Many had suffered years of study with little to show for it.

  2. Can you get the school to tape your classes and put them out? Since I know you're very big into the research behind your teaching, I really, really would love to see your class.

    I know I always struggled in English, and was content, though not happy, with the C I got in college English. My writing really improved when I started writing my Grandma letters in college and didn't want to sound stupid. I almost got an A in my next college English class, Brit Lit. Unfortunately, you can't replicate that in a classroom.

  3. There's surprisingly little for most of my students to unlearn. (Well, I had one student big into 9/11 Truther stuff, although I think she knew better than to defend it.)

    I don't think the school would go for me putting my class online; they charge a hefty penny for the program.

  4. This brings back memories from when I was a grad student in the early 1980s. I taught State and Local Gov't for 3 semesters at UNC-CH. Most of my students were Journalism majors. The biggest problem with journalism majors back then is that they tended to write in 1-sentence paragraphs. How times have changed!