Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Theorist's Profile--Reading Student Writing

This week, I loved reading grad/undergrad students' "theorist profiles." The assignment, the first in a senior-level critical literary theory seminar, asked them to reflect on questions like these:

Are there theorists you're aware of whose work speaks to you?
How do you define "theory"?
What are the "big ideas" that guide your thinking about important topics?
What questions motivate your academic work?
If you look at previous essays, what themes pervade your work?

Each person took a different approach and direction. Students shared a little bit of their personal philosophies, life journeys, and academic interests.

My comments are pointing them toward theorists and schools of thought they might want to really look at in the coming weeks. From some folks, I hear whispers of Derrida. From others, I hear an interest in the social dimensions of literature that Foucault's power/knowledge framework could help focus.

Notes from Students: Forgetting and Remembering

Tom Sura at West Virginia University posted a piece the other day about the "one-minute paper." It's a classroom assessment technique that asks students to process the day's learning and writing a brief note to the teacher about what they're taking away from that class.

There are various approaches to this technique. The prompt can be broad and open, or more narrow and targeted.

I used to employ this practice weekly. Learned a lot from students through this simple exercise. For some reason, I got away from it. Going to pick it up again.