Living Laboratory Associate Fellows

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  • #28643

    Prof. Karen Goodlad
    Participant

    This will be a semester of great growth and learning for us all, a time to embrace our curiosity. Let’s start sharing our visions of our classrooms as a Living Laboratory now by viewing this TED Talk and sharing our thoughts of how we can all inspire our students:

    What makes you curious?

    What do YOU bring to your classroom to spark learning among our students?

    #28646

    cstewart
    Participant

    Karen, thanks for the video. I especially like “embrace the mess” philosophy. So true. I also like the comment that we need to feed curiosity and can’t be afraid to “confuse.” I think this leads to the next step, which is often that we as teachers do not always have the answer to questions. That we can admit when we don’t know something is fine if we show a commitment and curiosity to find an answer together.

    #28648

    Harry Shapiro
    Participant

    In HMGT 3502 its’ the first 1/2 hour of class, a very “empty” exercise..

    I put the following across the board:
    1. Amazing

    2. Sad

    3. Scary

    4. Opportunity

    I put a student up there with a marker/chalk — and ask my students to fill up the board with everything that they know about Hospitality and Tourism – but each item they call out, they have to place into one of these 4 areas (which we may debate).

    Once the board is full, amazingly the trends in hospitality have been fully detailed by them, in their own words.. and we are off to the real race (to pick a topic for research).

    /hawk

    #28907

    Patrick Corbett
    Participant

    Our students are so hungry for inspiration that I don’t think it is particularly difficult to inspire many of them. So, perhaps inspiration is easy to cultivate if we work at it, but I find that this is not enough.

    Creativity, inspiration, desire to learn — all of these are ingredients to a successful course. Without a skillful act of facilitation, though, that combines these qualities with a focus on course content in a way that is accessible and relevant to our students, I fear that (in my case) they will walk out of my classroom ready to take on the world and under-prepared to do so.

    So, for me, the question is how can I use the inspiration of my students to guide them to the best possible outcomes? How can I get their very, very best work at least part of the time, so that they see what it means to do something so much better than what they thought they could do?

    #28913

    Christopher Swift
    Participant

    I would be interested in discussing techniques of inspiration and cultivating curiosity in more detail. There are a number of things I do in my classroom that are geared to hook the students. We read texts that sparkle and speak to the lives of our students. I share the stories of successful playwrights and the myriad ways they approach their craft. We attend performances.

    That said, I wonder if the process of inspiration can occur at any point in Musallman’s 3-step process. To put it another way, does inspiration have to be the only way we hook our students or make them curious? On Thursday (first class of the semester — such an important moment!), I was working it — using all the tools available to attract the students in my Writing Intensive course to the subject matter, readings, and work ahead. I said, “By the end of the semester, I hope that each of you will have an essay that you consider the best piece you’ve ever written.” I went on to say that their writing will continue to evolve and improve long after the course is over, but they might look back at this moment as a time they felt inspired, energized, and very happy about the work they produced. A major stepping stone.

    I don’t know how many of my students were convinced. For some students, the goals I laid out will not be reached. For a handful of students the goals might not even be obtainable. Work, family, economics, and myriad forces will attempt to intervene. Other students may have heard this rallying cry before and have decided ahead of time that they are destined to fail (because of past failed attempts, deeply held, erroneous beliefs in their own inadequacy, distrust in institutions of learning the U.S., etc.). For these students, inspiration may not be the hook. Perhaps they will be motivated by grades or simply understand that in order to get through the course they will need to force themselves into uncomfortable areas. For these students, inspiration might come at the end of the course when they complete the final project after agonizing through first drafts that didn’t come easy and felt fruitless. Inspiration might even come the following semester when they are given a writing assignment in another course and they realize that some of the methods they learned in Play Analysis can be reapplied. Then they can draw on resources of confidence and production they built themselves, without the Henry V speech at Agincourt the first day of classes. (Act V, scene iii: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/henryv/henryv.4.3.html)

    #28919

    Harry Shapiro
    Participant

    A remarkable human trait is our ability to see ourselves in others.. if we are taking the time to be inspiring it should be an action that we are modeling, supporting and encouraging..

    Like all things, we have to be sustainable in our inspiration. Which is to say, to personally inspire every student even just once a term could be a very hard road; a road we must travel. While traveling this road we must support and create a climate of inspiration.

    By a climate of inspiration, I mean insuring that the environment of our classrooms, and the content of our syllabi, etc. encourages multiple “acts of inspiration” from all sources.

    Can our students inspire themselves? each other? Can we find non-academic voices that inspire (i.e., Starbuck’s Schultz growing up in a NYC housing project — could that inspire a student?)

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Harry Shapiro.
    #28943

    Mária Cipriani
    Participant

    I have found that when I get curious about what sparks students’ curiosity, especially in a class of first semester, first year students, my curiosity about what makes them curious engages them. My modeling of ways to ask questions, and my encouragement of their questions often makes for an interesting class discussion.

    In addition, I have found that my willingness to be wrong goes a long way in allowing students the space for trial and error that they might not otherwise feel free to attempt. I have also found that positing curiosity as a goal, an end rather than a means, reframes the idea of being intellectually active, a worthy goal in any discipline.

    #28956

    Prof. Karen Goodlad
    Participant

    Chris I too start the semester with a video clip. For me, I want to bring calm into the classroom to allow the students to tap into their curiosity, I try to have them relax through laughter as they begin their wine studies. For so many of our students facing all the challenges you listed outside of the classroom their first exploration into the world of wine and beverage could be intimidating, even frustrating, possibly subduing their curiosity.

    So I play minutes 1:20-3:00 of this video before I even introduce myself. Enjoy…

    #28985

    Christopher Swift
    Participant

    Thanks, Karen. Now I’m just jealous I’m not drinking an ’89 Longueville. Funny video.

    BTW — I don’t show my students that scene from Henry V to inspire them (although we do watch clips from Shakespeare’s plays through the semester). I was making a (clumsy) joke about first day of classes speeches.

    #28998

    Phil Mitch
    Participant

    HI ALL!

    I’ve been getting the posts from this discussion to my email. I’m not sure why but I’ve decided to comment on it!

    My name is Phillip Mitchell and I’m a former City Tech student.(On my résumé I put City University of New York) Though I can’t possibly speak for all, I think students on their own have to want to learn and be inspired. In terms of City Tech’s body of students, most of us grow up in areas where our environment(projects) tells us all that we got going for us is whats around us (which isn’t much).

    I remember starting college and being the worst student. I always slept in class, did no homework and walked around thinking the world spun without me (not around me). This is what a person such as myself, an African American boy raised in the projects with one family member ever graduating college, thought. Again, this is just one input.

    I have had several talks with professors who cared enough to have the “you’re better than you know”, “if you know your good, why be good when you can be better” and “what the hell’s wrong with you” talk with me. Though I didn’t take their advice at the time and I still continued the same way, when I finally realized that I wanted to spin with the world rather than without and that I wanted to have an amazing career, voice, and to retire with a family and not put them through the hell I grew up in those talks that I’ve had with professors is what fueled me. Even though I’m not in college anymore it still fuels me.

    It doesn’t take a one on one with students to get through. They listen to everything you say (unless they are asleep). I think they just have to see what they could have.

    I can only speak for myself. My inspiration was being forced out of my comfort zone and realizing the world outside of my environment. I think thats a good start for many students. To inspire every student you ever meet is probably the touch of the PERFECT teacher. It’s almost impossible to do that though. Good luck!

    P.S. I also had a curiosity to know more about the world. I pretty much became a four year old asking why again.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Phil Mitch.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by Phil Mitch.
    #29321

    Prof. Karen Goodlad
    Participant

    Phil, I am honored that you came across our site last year and continue to participate in our group. As a member of the faculty and a leader in the effort to engage students as learners you inspire me (probably all of us). You inspire me because of your curiosity, your can do attitude, your understanding of yourself, your honesty and mostly your bravery. I say bravery because you seemed willing to look at yourself and see not only your past but your future. This is powerful, it is your power that you are using to become who you want to be.

    Stay curious and you will spin the world around you in the exact way you want.

    #29420

    Damien L. Duchamp
    Participant

    Thanks all for the posts.

    Phil, I appreciate what you said and generally have a few students like you described yourself each semester. I pull them aside and try to have the talk, but I’ve seen too many disappear. What would you recommend as the way to get through to them? What would you have liked to hear?

    Damien – ProfD

    #29432

    Phil Mitch
    Participant

    Damien, I think pulling certain students, although great and I got that plenty of times, is just to time consuming and almost a bit unfair. Though, I know some just don’t seem to be in it for the education you never know who you’ll get through to.

    A lot of professors say things like “I’m here to teach, not babysit. If you don’t want to listen that is your decision. I still get paid. This is for you, not me.” Although true, I think people generally care in this business and only believe half of that statement.

    Long story short – I’d like to hear, “I’m your professor. I have a responsibility to you. I from this point on, I care about all of you. If you need help with something and it is in my power to do so, I will help. I will try my best to go beyond what you expect of me” (That last part, “go beyond what you expect of me,” was only added since students from high school have different expectations from professors.

    #29433

    Phil Mitch
    Participant

    Thanks Prof. Karen. I’ve always been a curious optimist. As a kid I was told that though we are afraid fear is a good thing. Fear is only a byproduct of creativity and imagination. With our imagination we anticipate outcomes of our actions. We all imagine the worst outcome before the good and some of us who are really creative can imagine worse. Those of us who feel the fear and decide to move forward are the ones considered optimist.

    With that said, fear lets me know my noggins still working. :)

    #29557

    Damien L. Duchamp
    Participant

    Thanks again for the insight Phil!

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