Thursday, May 29, 2008

Make it cheesy on yourself

I do seem to be in an education groove at the moment, although this one has less of that neo-Grange Hill nostalgia feel about it (with an obligatory soundtrack by The Jam):

In the early part of his career, that evergreen vaudevillian Steven Patrick Morrissey wrote ditties such as The Headmaster Ritual, denouncing as "belligerent ghouls" the teachers who haunted his school days. As he aged, his sympathies shifted, and a decade later he was using titles like The Teachers Are Afraid Of The Pupils.

Many of us have had a similar change of heart in recent years, and the tale of Priya Venkatesan, who has threatened to sue her students for harassment and discrimination, may elicit understanding a world of feral, gun-toting, knife-wielding, happy-slapping hoodlums in hoodies. Except that Dr Venkatesan wasn't teaching in a sink school in the Baltimore projects or the Paris banlieues; she was a lecturer at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League establishment in New Hampshire...

Read the full thing here, and marvel at four YouTube clips plus a gratuitous Baudrillard namecheck.

PS: And when you've done that, read Guy Dammann on drunkenness, because it's wonderful.


Valerie said...

I find it really intriguing that Amazon lists "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place" at the URL

Maybe the real complaint is from what I think was a short historical period when students listened and teachers poured forth. The best education may come from exchange -- what I know about the relationship of elaborative encoding to memory and learning led me to preach interaction at countless educational technology conferences over the years. But there were some generations where students sat still and absorbed what they could, and where respecting a teacher meant quietly listening. I don't know if that's really respect if it means you don't learn things as fully, but I think there are people who feel that it is. And, let's face it, it's tough to be a teacher to a class who isn't paying attention and isn't interested.

I think the kind of cheese is actually important. Isn't that the juncture where you ask what is meant by cheesy? And why? Isn't it an interesting question to explore?

Perhaps I'm taking this all too seriously.. I definitely agree with setting fire to the bucket of cheese. I've got matches!

Billy said...

Although you're article is very good Tim, that drunkenness one is fantastic. I'm drinking wine while reading it.

Now if only I had some cheese...

FirstNations said...

You gotta admit, billy, that second to the last sentence is fricken' GENIUS:

"Dr Venkatesan, for her next trick, should fill the bucket with cheese, and set fire to it. And then deny it ever happened. "

that just warms the cockles of my little heart, that does.

Tim F said...

Valerie: Surely students who challenge and question aren't uninterested - they're probably more interested that the ones who just sit there taking notes.

Isn't it great, Billy? The bastard.

FN: I'll put in my business card: professional cockle-warmer.

Thank you, bunbungirl. I do like polite spam.