Journey of Rediscovery: Less Control for More Learning
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Change is much easier decided upon than implemented. Instructor discomfort when climbing out of teaching ruts can be strong enough to impede progress (temporarily) but is a sure sign of growth Although the decentralized classroom increases a sense of vulnerability, it also increases camaraderie. Class discussion can and does veer in unexpected directions but also leads to unanticipated insights and increased student involvement with the material. The instructorâ s job becomes more complicated because although there must be latitude for a range of responses, the class discussion must not be allowed to drift totally off topic. Thus, the instructor must have the restraint to allow students to express and defend their ideas, and must not rein in apparent misdirections too quickly. To do so would risk stifling student involvement and precluding significant new insights. One casualty of increased student participation in discussion is the amount of material that can be covered. The physical arrangement of a class in a circle encourages student discussion, but that decentralization is really more a function of attitude than of physical space.
An essential component of the successful discussion class is the student literary response journal. The journal encourages students to focus on and wrestle with the reading assignment. In the process they can hone their analytic skills, preview and practice articulating their ideas, generate ideas for formal essays, and receive private, non-threatening encouragement from the instructor.
- Doctoral Dissertations