well I think we can safely assume the bloom is off the rose. The book we are working with this semester, Elshtain’s Women and War is dense as heck for non-philosophy students in a gen ed. Combine that with some senioritis and the 8 AM time slot, and I had students with their heads on the seminar table, far too much yawning, tardiness and failure to read.
I closed my eyes and envisioned my happy place (latest version beach at Cape May Lighthouse)
I wanted to yell, really I did, because nothing irks me more than unprepared students, but that would not be in keeping with the whole participant pedagogy approach.
So instead I asked the students “what would you do about the late/unprepared students?”
to my surprise one student piped up “I’d make the student write a paper.” So we decided that. However when I posted that to our facebook group one student replied that he had not agreed to this. I’m not sure if he wasn’t paying close attention, as he was the student with his head on the table, but his suggestion was that participation should count for more in the class.
I’m going to discuss this again with the students at the next course meeting but it raises a couple of key issues.
1. majority rule or consensus: I’ve always gone with the latter, and in small classes it is usually possible, but what happens if it cannot be reached.
2. how long/much do you allow the course to be revised. We just completed week 3. If the students decided to move some of the points in the class to participation, is the decision retroactive or from this point on?