What should a syllabus consist of?

What should a syllabus consist of? One answer, which we are all familiar with, is that it should provide information about the course in a summary form that can fit in 3 to 5 pages. Why this length? Answer: Because students do not read a longer syllabus. But let us think more about this convention of limited-length syllabi. Read more of this post

Teaching lost voices to speak

In an activity Peter Elbow led in a 1998 workshop each participant was asked to list the different voices that were important to us, then choose one that we didn’t often use and write in that voice about whatever seemed pertinent. After moving to a private space, we had to practice a phrase in that voice. Finally, we came back together to discuss the experience of exploring “the range of voices that could be said to be part of us or available to us.”

In John Weimer’s book Back Talk she develops conversations between herself (her dominant self), the writer (Constance Fenimore Woolson) who was the subject of her research, and other “lost selves” that she identifies from dreams and reflections on her then new state of being disabled and in pain – perhaps a permanent state, but at best needing a slow period of unsteady recovery.

A possible combination of Elbow and Weimer would be to identify one’s different voices, have the under-expressed one speak uninterrupted, setting the agenda or agendas, then continue in conversation. The conversation would always be open to finding further voices, say through reflections on dreams. What would the conversation be about? Possible answer: remembering the past with a view to understanding – re-evaluating – why the under-expressed voice had got lost or buried, where, in the spirit of narrative therapy and community work, the reevaluation would center on re-membering, that is, “rich description of the ways in which… connection[s with others] shaped… the person’s sense of who they are and what their life is about” (White, workshop notes).

Stay tuned for reports on attempts to put this into practice.

Living under constraints, less emphasis on death and dying

To speak or think of “dying” is to keep the focus on a seriously ill person being dead in the foreseeable future. Looking ahead to the person soon being dead shapes what others—the caregivers (or other visitors)—do (unless we want to rely on there being life after death). A different view and different practice follows once we insert the category living under constraints into the picture and separate this from looking ahead to a time when the person cared for is dead. Read more of this post

Critical Thinking, the stories in a new course

This 53-minute video describes a proposal for a new graduate-level course on Critical Thinking (based on the rethinking done during the Fall 2015 semester teaching an exploratory version of such a course).

How to read and prepare annotations and points for discussion on readings

HOW TO READ AND PREPARE ANNOTATIONS and POINTS FOR DISCUSSION ON READINGS

(Peter Taylor, Nov. ‘15,
adapted from guidelines of Reyes Coll-Tellechia, Ann Blum & Ruth Gilmore)

AS YOU READ, TAKE NOTES IN EACH OF THE CATEGORIES BELOW.
LABEL YOUR NOTES ACCORDING TO THESE CATEGORIES.
BRING YOUR NOTES TO CLASS and BE PREPARED TO SPEAK TO ANY of the CATEGORIES. Read more of this post

What is “something” for the Critical and Creative Thinking graduate Program?

A 22-minute video on what it is that students have become by the time they graduate from the Critical and Creative Thinking program, how that happens, and ways it contrasts with alternative models. This exposition builds on recent posts about teaching critical thinking and previous posts about studios and a slow mode.

Repeated reflection as part of development as a critical thinker (and more)

What would be a relevant set of initial guidelines if a person were to begin a regular plus-delta reflection process concerning their development as a critical thinker (and beyond to a sense of “ITS CAPL” [see previous post])? Such a reflection process is described, then possible guidelines are floated. Read more of this post

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