Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't ask

San Antonio College Official Asked Student Newspaper to Pay Him for Interview (Chronicle of Higher Education)

     The student-life director at San Antonio College recently declined to be interviewed by student journalists unless they paid him, according to reports by the San Antonio Express-News and the student newspaper, The Ranger. The student paper had exchanged e-mails with the director, Jorge Posadas, but it also wanted a face-to-face interview to discuss the handling of student fees. In an e-mail to The Ranger’s student editor, Mr. Posadas declined to be interviewed but suggested that they could “set up a professional consulting contract” and “negotiate an appropriate fee.” When contacted by the Express-News, he said that his response had been “inappropriate” and that he had misinterpreted a request for budget information as a request for professional consulting.

Socratic Backfire? (Inside Higher Ed)

     …The Socratic style of teaching … is hardly novel. But experts say that while it remains popular in law schools, there are reasons many faculty members have never used it extensively with the current generation of students.
     "When done well, you simply do not impose the teacher's idea, and try to come up with a solution through dialogue," said Michael Apple, a professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. "In general, it is a guided dialogue."
     Supporters of the method see it as "a process by which you try to make the best logical argument and you focus on process as much as content,” Apple said. But he added that not that many faculty members use it these days. "The reason for its unpopularity sometimes is because we are in a test-based education system. Students can be increasingly impatient where the answer is not clear and when the professor is not giving it to them immediately."
     A lot also depends, Apple said, on who the students are. "It is controversial to some people, for example, students who are deeply concerned that they have to learn a certain amount of content and then take a test at the end," he said. Students may also think that they are being treated as if they were not very smart.
     Walter Parker, a professor of education at the University of Washington, said he teaches using the “Socratic seminar” method. He cautioned against stereotypes of the Socratic method, namely the depiction in the 1973 movie “The Paper Chase," which shows a professor giving harsh evaluations to a student, leaving the students embarrassed.
     "That is not the Socratic method," he said.
     "It is an interpretive discussion of a piece of text during which the professor says very little,” Parker said. “The professor chooses a rich piece of text and plans an interpretive question as he opens the discussion."
     This kind of teaching is more common in the humanities and social sciences, he said.
     The advantage of this kind of teaching is that students learn how to think on their feet, said Patricia King, a professor of education at the University of Michigan.
     “But it requires hard intellectual work,” she said….

Pet Lovers, Pathologized (Kelly Oliver, New York Times)

     …In the United States, we often see our political leaders hunting, particularly bird-hunting, which seems to demonstrate their manly fortitude and bloodlust — qualities intended to persuade us that they can keep us safe. Hunting has become a tool of sorts within the realm of political image making. With few exceptions, President Obama among them, most presidents and presidential hopefuls have been seen hunting. Meat eating, too, is an act used to portray strength. Obama is known to enjoy his burgers, a fact that has helped counter his image as a green-tea drinking elitist. Even Sarah Palin’s so-called new brand of feminism revolves around the image of a tough “mama grizzly,” as she calls herself, shooting and gutting moose to feed and protect her family. As she says in her memoir, “I always remind people from outside our state that there’s plenty of room for all Alaska’s animals — right next to the mashed potatoes.” But while politicians continue to channel “Joe-Six-Pack” by hunting and killing animals to prove that they are tough providers, animal lovers are often infantilized, pathologized and derided. It is true that White House pets have often become celebrities, but they are usually there for the children, part of the pretty picture of the all-American family….

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really cool essay about pet-lovers being pathologized, BvT. Thanks!--will have my students take a look at it.

MAH

Bohrstein said...

When I tutor I sometimes use a Socratic style. One student in particular was having difficulty with the approach and left early. My evaluation read: "Didn't seem to know what he was talking about."

I laughed.

B. von Traven said...

You're good, Bohrstein.

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