Archive | April, 2013

In Defense Of The Things I Like and How That Translates Into The Classroom

22 Apr

I just spent the last few days reading Tess of the D’Ubervilles. I was asked why. Then I moved on to Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy Series. I was asked why. I read Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. Asked why. Was reading the Wikipedia entry for The Uncanny Effect. I was asked why.

My questions to my enquisitors — “Why do you want to know why?”

I receive blank stares. Their response, “Is it for school-related research? Is it for a new job? Did someone ask you to research this?” Depending what they are asking me the answer can range from yes — reading many YA novels will hopefully help me out when I get a position as a high school English teacher — to no — I’m just curious. What astonishes me is the response I get back from people. They are absolutely astonished that I would “waste” my time on some of these things.

I currently hold a position at the Royal Alberta Museum staffing the admissions desk. A major part of my job is answering questions regarding past, current, and future exhibits. This past weekend I answered a visitor’s question about the current exhibit. I fired off some facts and had my coworker turn to me in surprise, “How did you know all of that?” 

I actually went into the exhibit and read about it.

It boggles my mind that people aren’t more curious about things. I’m inquisitive by nature, I used to (still do!) drive my parents insane with the amount of questions I ask. I will spend three hours researching a topic that I came upon tangentially on the internet. I will go to the bookstore and purchase books at random from the non-fiction section because their subject matter caught my eye. I have read the majority of J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium including the many volumes of the History of Middle Earth and The Silmarillion. I have read some of the correspondence between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway during their heydey.

Why? Because I can. Because it interests me. I’ve had more than a few people suggest that I may have A.D.D. And maybe I do (which would explain a lot).

But whether I enjoy the occassional Miley Cyrus song, the bombardment of twitter, LOLCats, gifs, the Wikipedia random button, viral youtube videos, and television shows broadcast by a certain network *cough* The CW *cough.* Or if I like to play jazz, read research articals out for peer review, peruse the New York Times, or only watch the news, does it really matter? I enjoy all of those things. Among many, many other things.

So when I am in a classroom and I hear a student or teacher tell someone why they shouldn’t be interested in what interests them, it really bothers me. You are taking a golden opportunity to interact with the student or with your class on a base level and wasting it. Everyone likes to talk about what interests them. So to create a dialogue with students, friends, coworkers, anybody — I always try to ask them about their interests. It gets them talking, and engaging, and interacting with one another, which often doesn’t happen if you just stand up at the front of the classroom and lecture at them.

And then she taught!

A journey through the nooks and crannies of Secondary Education with a lady who sometimes misplaces her maps.


Created for EDCMOOC



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