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Thread: Learning from a bad example

  1. #1
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    Default Learning from a bad example

    I started school again last Wednesday. I have 3 really great profs - they know their subjects and they know how to interact with classes of 20 to 300. Very important skills. I have one prof who is fairly new to the teaching thing, and she has a tendancy to assign reading, and then lecture us the reading point for point... but she's trying.

    And then there's The Bint.

    I can already tell I'm going to learn a lot from The Bint - not neccessarily about the History of the English Language (the course), but about teaching.

    She is providing a sterling example of what not to do.

    I have only had The Bint for two classes so far - I have her once a week for 2½ hours at a time. Already I have learned much.

    When you ask the class a question, and a student answers:

    1. a. Don't interrupt them.
    1. b. Don't even interrupt them to ask them their name.
    1. c. Especially don't interrupt them with a joke deriding some part of their answer, or worse, how they speak.

    2. Don't say "so what you really mean is..." and proceed to give your own answer, which was not the student's answer.

    3. Don't tell the student they are wrong, and then give the correct answer as essentially what they said.
    Example: here is a dialogue from my second class with her, paraphrased for the sake of brevity.

    Quote Originally Posted by exercise on contextual influence on meaning
    Bint: Can this sentence mean the same as sentences A or B?
    Me: Yes. This sentence uses a neutral term, it can mean either, depending on context. It's ambiguous.
    Bint: No. It can mean the same as either one, but it depends on context. It will mean one or the other depending on context, so it can mean both. It's ambiguous.
    Me: That's what I said.
    Bint: What didn't you understand?
    Other valuable lessons I have learned from The Bint thus far include, but are not limited to:

    1. If you want the students to transcribe something a certain way, don't ask them to transcribe it how they would say it, and then tell them they are wrong; this is especially important if you are telling them to transcribe something in their native language, and it's not your native language, and there are people in the class speaking at least four dialects of the language, in this case, English.

    2. If a student asks you a question you don't know the answer to, don't frown at them in dead silence for over a minute before saying so.

    3. Don't declare a word is no longer used in the modern language when it is.
    Example: Explaining that the word "animal" comes from the Latin "anima" which means soul (thus "animal" means, roughly, "one with a soul", as compared to plants), and then declaring that "anima" is not used in English anymore, except very very rarely in psychology. "Anima" is also used extensively in discussing anthropology, history, religion, art, and literature, in addition to psychology.

    4. If you have a point to make, make it.

    5. If you think you can make an interesting "colour" point, make the point and move on. Overheads of paintings throughout the centuries of some aspect of your point are not neccessary.
    Example: Lecturing about the tower of Babel representing the arrogance of man is not relevant to the tower of Babel story being a mythological explanation of why there are so many languages.

    6. If you are going to use an example from a religious text, don't assume that everyone in your class is of that religion. (In fact, in our class, I would say Christians are a minority.)

    7. When at all possible, say what you mean.


    I took this course because I thought it looked interesting, and knowing a little about the history of my native tongue, I wanted to know more; I thought it might be especially useful, or interesting, to be able to explain where words in the language come from, should I be asked. As you have probably guessed, I am not happy with the class, however I am stuck with it, so I am taking the opportunity to learn from someone else's mistakes, while plotting with my fellow students on how to curb these bad habits of The Bint's.

    If you have had similar learning experiences from your own academic career, please, feel free to add to the list.

    SteelQueen~
    All through the night
    Stray cat is crying, so stray cat sings back

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    Oh, my, all is after only a few classes? By the end of the semester, you'll know exactly how not to teach.

    I've gathered a few more points over the years:

    8. Do not wait until December 3rd to hand back the 1-page essay you assigned the first day of class, and which were given to you approximately September 9th. Especially do not do this in a teaching methods class.

    9. Do not take questions about the content as personal attacks. (Background: in the same teaching methods class, we read a kids' book about an American Indian girl whose village was infected by smallpox. One student mentions that in the southwest, infected blankets had been given to tribes on purpose. The teacher then proceeds to analyze the book, set in Michigan a hundred years before the blanket incidents, as if the village had been deliberately infected. Now, this would certainly matter in the context of the book, since the main character's feelings were the focus, and she'd feel a lot differently if it were a deliberate act, rather than accidental. I hadn't noticed anything in the book hinting that this was anything other than an accidental tragedy, and said so, asking, in case I'd missed it, where deliberateness was said or implied. No one had any evidence from the book, and a few others said that they'd thought it was just a normal spread of disease, too. The professor got annoyed, and brought up the historical incident mentioned earlier. I said I wasn't disputing that, but that this book was not about that incident, and certainly diseases have been spread by contact thoughout history without any malicious intent. The professor got extremely angry and said she felt threatened, and I was attacking her personally because she was not of my race. I had never even mentioned her! She went on and on for over ten minutes about how questioning her was a racist act intended to undermine her. Here I'd naively thought the topic of the class was the book, not her... Her rant was completely unjustified, and while I didn't say anything more (what would be the point?), that was the angriest I've ever been in my life. Later, I talked to someone who'd had this woman for a different class, and she said similar incidents had happened several times. The woman would praise the value of openness and discussing many viewpoints, but when anyone would actually disagree with her, she'd claim that person was racist. Before too long, almost all of the students had decided it wasn't woth angering her, and the "class discussions" turned into her talking at great length to an all-but-silent class. (Sorry too be so long -- that happened several years ago, and is still infuriating when I'm not laughing at its ridiculousness.)

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    And also, don't do this!!!

    A meteor is coming and we're all going to die, British teacher tells pupils

    Thu Nov 18, 7:06 PM ET

    LONDON (AFP) - A British schoolteacher, attempting to motivate her pupils into making the most of each day, told them a meteorite was about to smash into the Earth and that they should all return home to say goodbye to their families, a report said.

    The teacher at the high school in Manchester, northwest England, only realised her lecture was misjudged when many of the assembled teenagers started crying, the Sun newspaper said in its Friday edition.

    According to the report, the unnamed female teacher made the announcement to around 250 pupils at St Matthew's Roman Catholic High School during their regular morning assembly.

    Saying she had bad news, the teacher announced that a meteor would strike the Earth in 10 days' time, and that they should return home and say their "final farewells" to their parents.

    After the crowd of 13- and 14-year-olds looked on in horror, and many burst into tears, the teacher swiftly explained that she was only trying to encourage them to "seize the day".

    "Some of the children were 100 percent convinced they were going to die," the father of one child told the paper.

    "God only knows what this teacher thought she was doing."
    All through the night
    Stray cat is crying, so stray cat sings back

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    don't mark a student's work, eg a story or an essay or a talk, lower just because they choose a topic you don't like..


    I had a creative writing tutor that would mark down anyone who wrote inthe 'popular lit' genres (sci-fi, fantasy, horror etc) because she was into arty-farty nonsence..
    It's offical... I HATE EARTHQUAKES!

  5. #5
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    yeah, and try not to turn up to lessons drunk and remember to wipe off the dried blood from around your nose
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Default Re: Learning from a bad example

    Quote Originally Posted by steelqueen
    As you have probably guessed, I am not happy with the class, however I am stuck with it, so I am taking the opportunity to learn from someone else's mistakes, while plotting with my fellow students on how to curb these bad habits of The Bint's.
    My advice would be to whine on the internet about it.

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    Default Re: Learning from a bad example

    Quote Originally Posted by Cantdosleepflower
    My advice would be to whine on the internet about it.
    Good job I already anticipated this stategy and did so quite some time ago!
    All through the night
    Stray cat is crying, so stray cat sings back

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    Yeah, sorry. That was a bit ... catty.

    I'm finding that the poor example I'm learning from most is my own. Nothing quit like fortyfive minutes of awkward silence Hell to remind you that you're not Ninja Teacher yet.

    Is your rubbish teacher a new'un? If so, give the poor thing some slack, she's probably terrified. My teacher's off tomorrow, so I'm giving all of his lessons. I asked what they should be about, and he just said 'ano...' and scuttled off. Gah.

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    I have to take my teachers class on monday.

    My lesson plan is simple.

    - The first 50 minutes of fight club on the big projector screen.

    Its my class. I can do whatever I want.

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    If I were one of your students Nicklad that would either be the best or worse lesson ever, depending upon one factor. Subtitles, if my first language was Japanese and you put on the subtitles I'd be overjoyed. However, if there's no subs I would either sleep or gaze into the distance thinking about what I was going to watch on TV that night...oh hang on...it works out well both ways.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jane_is_ace
    If I were one of your students Nicklad that would either be the best or worse lesson ever, depending upon one factor. Subtitles, if my first language was Japanese and you put on the subtitles I'd be overjoyed. However, if there's no subs I would either sleep or gaze into the distance thinking about what I was going to watch on TV that night...oh hang on...it works out well both ways.
    If I was one of your students I would think it was the worst lesson ever because Edward Norton freaks me out - I would choose re-runs of Tenko to teach english and Japanese history
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Senior Member reed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklad
    I have to take my teachers class on monday.

    My lesson plan is simple.

    - The first 50 minutes of fight club on the big projector screen.

    Its my class. I can do whatever I want.
    Did you actually do this? How did it turn out?

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    Yes I did do it.

    The students were hypnotised by it.
    The English room is pretty state of art. Surround sound, huge screen projector- just like a cinema.

    I think most students enjoyed. They truly were mesmerised by it and many of them did a 50 minute long goldfish impression.

    The best thing was that last week I showed them the second half as it was the last class and the teacher told me to show them the rest!!!

    I never realised how truly unsuitable the movie was. Of course I knew the violence but whats a few punch ups? I had forgotten about the big cocks, dildos, sex, etc. It was great.

    The movie had Japanese subtitles.

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    Fight Club is pretty much my favourite film ever, I would have been mega-chuffed if I had been shown it in school .

    How old were they?

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    It was one of my best first year classes so I guess they are all 16.
    I teach in a technical high school so there are only a couple of girls in each class if any. I think this helped them swallow fight club better.

    Not going to get a 16-18 year old boy complaing a movie had too much violence or sex in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul
    Quote Originally Posted by nicklad
    I never realised how truly unsuitable the movie was. Of course I knew the violence but whats a few punch ups? I had forgotten about the big cocks, dildos, sex, etc. It was great.

    The movie had Japanese subtitles.
    Hate it when that happens. Always think of a good movie then gotta ditch it because of the great sex/violence/cursing. Pretty much rules out all good films.
    Yeah but you gotta remember, they're not so uptight when it comes to sex/violence/cursing... Hell, I've seen boobies on TV at 4pm in Japan~

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    Rearry. What channel?

    My super/ head of department said I could show the kids anything as long as it wasnt porn.

    Of course I had to cross out the first ten titles I had thought of but Fight CLub was number 11 so it was ok in the end.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicklad
    Of course I had to cross out the first ten titles...
    What the hell was before it? Something like Monster Balls?
    Seriously tho, what was the list you had?

  19. #19
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    the erotic witch project
    shaving ryans privates
    edward dildohands
    Starwhores
    Thrill Bill
    Spankular and funkenstein
    The hunt for red member
    Lord of the ringpiece
    Sold on the 4th of july
    and logans run (the sexist film ever made)
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    funny thing is that those probably are real porn titles~

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