Friday @ the Center
November 20, 2009
Teaching Idea #4: Cinderella's Stepmother Tells Her Story!
With the objective of focusing on psychology’s search for truth throughout the decades, Paul Yost designed an exercise that encourages critical thinking about multiple perspectives on the truth. Students first read a fictitious speech given by Cinderella’s Stepmother about the difficulties of parenting a pampered only child who seldom was required to do any work around the house and whose father was out of town a lot and failed to exercise any discipline. Students then wrote a paper addressing these questions: Who is telling the truth, Cinderella or her Stepmother? How would you work with the Stepmother to find the truth and help her move forward in her life? How do you think Cinderella’s Father would tell the story? In class, students work in three-person groups to identify the “right” answer to each question, with a challenge to examine the process of how to find the truth and to provide good arguments against the point they have just made. As Paul writes, “It is a fun way to get students to consider a very familiar story from multiple perspectives, to practices their critical thinking skills, and to question their unexamined assumptions."
Gerald Graff, 2008 President of the Modern Language Association and frequent commentator on higher education, is an ardent advocate for teaching and pungent critic of the ways American professors frequently teach. Agreeing that teaching is often devalued despite many professors’ significant commitment to teaching, Graff contends that we need to change the way we think about teaching. We are, Graff claims, “courseocentric,” with an amazing lack of interest in what is going on in our colleagues’ courses, completely focused on the restricted confines of our classrooms. Ultimately, this makes students responsible to put various fragments of knowledge together, an act that few are capable of doing on their own. How courseocentric are you, your department, your school, and SPU? Do you think that is a problem? Read Graff’s full essay, "Presidential Address 2008: Courseocentrism."
LFP Gender and Christianity Seminar
This year’s Lilly Fellows Network Summer Faculty Seminar will be held at SPU June 21-July 16, 2010, on the topic “Gender and Christianity.” Co-directed by Priscilla Pope-Levison, Professor of Theology, and Jack Levison, Professor of New Testament, the seminar will examine a range of perspectives on the relationship between gender and Christianity to assist faculty at LFP institutions to catalyze discussion and action on their campuses. For more details and an application form visit the website above.