Comment from: Aunt Bann [Visitor]
Aunt Bann

I think you are doing an amazingly good job. Your students like you and respond to you. Keep up the good work!!!

08/15/15 @ 16:34
Comment from: Jesse [Visitor]

I totally cheat … since I created the course, and have no full time colleagues anymore, and my kids are art students, and they’ve ripped our college prep courses at the catalog, I’ve hybridized my college algebra class into an open lab half-term of prep assignments using the MyMathLab adaptive learning system from Pearson, followed by regular lecture after the midterm in week five.

So for the first four weeks of an eleven week term, I sit down and roll my chair from student to student helping them work the problems while asking them about their families back home; their kids if they have any; their girlfriends, boyfriends, and pets; the politics of their home country; how much I’d like to visit them there, and on and on … like I said, I cheat.

And I have great fun doing it, too.

By the time the regular lecture rolls around, and this is a math class, you understand, I can grab any student I want and run them through a demonstration of my methods in front of the room. Kids are easy to like, ya know. Given a chance, and making a way for it to happen naturally, caring about them, and letting them know it, isn’t much of a challenge.

I’ve got no idea how you could do that in a military environment though.

Best of luck, d.

08/15/15 @ 22:19
Comment from: diana [Member]

Thanks, Jesse. I always knew I’d love your teaching style. :)

The military environment, at least in the academic part of the Academy, is just college. Yes, they have to call the room to attention when I enter and they have to report in and observe basic customs and courtesies, but I treat them like students–normal students–within the confines of my classroom, because I believe this is better for their well-being in general (they need to know someone is interested in them and likes them as they are) and for the learning environment.

So we both cheat, if you can call that “cheating.” :D

I’m looking for ways to improve, though. I think I’m onto some good points, but…hm. I need something besides the quizzes to ensure they continue to do their readings, etc. That particular assessment technique contradicts with item #2, which is foremost in my mind.


08/17/15 @ 16:25
Comment from: Daddy [Visitor]

I don’t know if I can add anything at all to this discussion, but I can try. Most of my teaching now-a-days has to do with bible. People are rarely deeply interested in this particular area of study, so ‘you’ (the teacher) must find a way to get them interested. I use several techniques in any given class.
1. I let them know, up front, that the particular version of the bible they use doesn’t matter that much, because they are all more or less inaccurate. The kick comes in when you try to say something like “The Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek actually means something a little different from this” They are immediately turned off, because they think they have to learn ancient languages, which is extremely difficult. (I haven’t, and don’t intend to do it.)
So I get around this by explaining that there is no word for word translation from any language to another.,and I simply say ‘The word in this particular context means so-and-so", while I ignore the language difference. They don’t get put off this way.

2. I give them credit for good guesses. I then take their guess, and expand on it as much as I can. Thankfully, I have a much better bible student in the classes I teach, and he can help me if I fail. So I learn while the class learns.

3. I always encourage questions. I know this is not good in a formal class, but it may be useful to some degree. You can usually tell if a person is asking questions to know if you are as well versed as you should be, or after brownie points, or whatever. I repeat often the cardinal rule about questions: There are three kinds of stupid questions. (a) the question you already knew the answer to. (b) The question you don’t listen to the answer, and ©the question you didn’t ask.

Extra material for reference on your desk is impressive. Just to keep them on their toes, and so they don’t get the idea you are trying to impress them, use them from time to time.

Stress something this class. Drop it. Refer back to your comments at a later class. It keeps them on their toes.

Just a few thoughts that I have found useful. They may or may not apply in your case, but they work for my purposes.

By the way, can you still teach at the academy after retiring? Or, would you even want to?

Love you always. Daddy

08/25/15 @ 17:49
Comment from: diana [Member]

Hi, Daddy. I hope you and Mother are well. :)

1. I agree. The translator must choose between word-for-word translation–which loses much in meaning across cultures–and intent, which loses much in specific verbiage and close reading. Perhaps the best bet is to find a version that is renowned for its translation with meaning and another that is renowned for its word-for-word accuracy, and use both simultaneously. (?)

2. Credit for good guesses. Yes! I am working on doing this more. I think I don’t do it enough.

3. One thing I know I’m good is encouraging questions–and even argument. Perhaps this is due to how I learn myself. I have to be engaged in the conversation myself to maintain interest (and/or taking notes), so I encourage my students to disagree and ask any question that comes to them. I’ve long since ceased to fear them asking a question I don’t know the answer to.

“There are three kinds of stupid questions. (a) the question you already knew the answer to. (b) The question you don’t listen to the answer, and © the question you didn’t ask.”

I love this. :) Yes!

I may or may not be invited to teach as a “bandaid” instructor* after I retire. Right now, I know that I’m burned out and don’t want to teach. At the same time, I know I’ll miss it, but there are other options available should I choose to teach again.

* Or, since our “bandaid” instructors keep us from figuratively bleeding out, some of us call them “tourniquet” instructors. :D

Love you, and hope to hear from y’all soon.


08/28/15 @ 20:22
Comment from: Hinermad [Visitor]

Mr. B,

I’m with Diana. Your definitions of stupid questions is spot on. Although a teacher asking a student a question about the material being studied to gauge his understanding seems to fall under the first definition, but I wouldn’t call it stupid. And then there’s God asking Moses, “What is that in your hand?” I’m pretty sure He already knew. (grin)

I found using different Bible translations when studying a particular passage to be helpful. Most of the time they substantially agreed but when there were significant differences it gave insight into the translators’ knowledge and attitudes. So it was sort of like having a discussion group with people from over the last 400 years .


08/29/15 @ 07:24

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