Thursday, June 4, 2015

Dissenting Opinions

This tweet showed up in my Twitterfeed today, retweeted by a friend:

I laughed. So truthy. (Like something @BluntEducator might have tweeted.)

A similar idea actually came up in a pedagogy workshop I was part of yesterday. A group of colleagues from across disciplines get together regularly throughout the summer to talk about our teaching practices--it's a great way to get to know faculty from other departments and to reflect together on how we are teaching.

In our discussion yesterday, we were talking about how we acculturate our students into college-level thinking and work. As I shared in a recent post, I believe we need to really think about how we are helping freshman students learn how to "do college." In our discussion, I noted that so much of K-12 education is aimed at fostering compliance, but when they come to college, we suddenly expect our students to think creatively, divergently, reflectively, discerningly.

Along these lines, a colleague who teaches philosophy pointed out that we perhaps need to model the kind of discourse that we want students to practice. This has me thinking about how we might go about this. I wonder if it would be a benefit to have more co-teaching? Perhaps we could have two (or more?) faculty members team up to teach a course, and model the kind of discussion we hope our students will develop as well?

Certainly this is a drain on resources. Perhaps it isn't feasible to do this on a regular basis, so maybe we need to think creatively about how we could model this for students. I'll return to my "crazy idea" of guerrilla teaching. I might just have to start doing this come fall, if for nothing else, to help my students understand that it's okay to have dissenting opinions. Disrespect is not okay, but disagreement? Disagreement can be healthy.

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