Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Vincent Hendricks getting down with his students
Comment on Hendricks
I partly agree and partly disagree with the second set of comments. There is a professional barrier between students and staff but academics should never appear intimidating.
Certainly when I started I was perhaps too informal and related too much with the students. I was clearing out my old files the other day and I found a birthday card my first cohort of MSc students had given me which had a picture of a guy with a snorkel on the front and the title "M**f Diver". So students can give as much as they take! Except that was mainly a male group and at Masters level.
I would also say that I find that Danish humour can be quite different to US or British humour and they can be pretty rude, both male and female. Humour is definitely a very cultural thing and very dangerous to use.
Monday, 27 February 2012
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
Teaching is driven by curriculumWhen I arrived there were no materials for the course I was about to teach and so I was given a list of the lectures from last year and ideas for the lectures this year which made up the curriculum. I then made up the lectures under these headings aligning them to the recommended textbook. So this is completely content and curriculum driven teaching. The students have to learn what is in the syllabus and then the exam has to test this syllabus.
What should have happenedI should have asked, what do the students need to learn? What are we trying to get them to do? What should they be able to do when they finish the course? This is different to what should they know at the end of the course in a subtle way. In this learning the knowledge is less important than the ways students interact with that knowledge and in particular in what they get wrong. What are their misconceptions? Where do they struggle? What are the blocks to their understanding? What will they need to use the skills they learn in the course for? Is there learning or coaching to pass an exam.
What can I do now?
Thursday, 9 February 2012
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
So for me there are weaknesses in some views - these are reasons why I do not agree with them, based on my view of the evidence. You do not have to agree with me and I might be wrong. I would certainly not want anyone not to make their own choices.
BuddhismBuddha thought that organised religion was bad and that people should find their own way. He did not want his teachings written down. He saw lots of suffering in the world and didn't like the idea of reincarnation - he wanted to escape the physical and find the perfect Nirvana. To me this is an overly personal thing - you try to save yourself and so the focus is on you and not so much on what you do in the world. So I think that is wrong you need to do the most you can with your life with regard to others, the communities you belong to and to your society.
IslamMohammed began in a very moderate and conciliatory way with the commune in Medina and with the early attempts to unit the tribes. The problem was politics and wars and people changing sides. In the end he gave up and became much more militaristic although the conquests were often tolerant of religions in the countries they occupied. So the problem he could not solve was politics and the problems of people using his example for their own personal gain.
ChristianityNow Jesus wanted people to be more community minded and he also wanted people to find their own ways - this church will not be built of bricks but of people. So he was in a sense a humanist but he was also ridiculously naive and he had some of the worst kinds of people as his disciples. People like Simon-Peter and later Paul were abominations to what he wanted to achieve. The creation of the Christian Churches and their intolerance has been one of the worst disasters of history. He forgot to stress he did not want blind followers and sycophants, and it was all hijacked by Rome to mix religion and Imperial power.
So they all had good intentions but they all made a complete mess, not because of their teachings but because of the way others have used them for their own gains. I do not believe that people are fundamentally bad in a Hobbesian way. I am much closer to Rousseau in thinking we can achieve great things - we just haven't got as far as I would like.
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Saturday, 4 February 2012
The Olive Tree of Illas - Holiday Villa - Casa Rural.