We once had two weird classes in one semester.
The first class was about poetry.
“Good morning everyone, in this semester we will be learning about poems. We will learn to interpret what the authors convey from their poems. I believe using the social media will be a perfect way for us to discuss with each other even after classes.”
So the class went pretty well and the online discussion was quite interactive. Although sometimes the mandatory social media discussion seems awkward, I believe most of us had the passion to express our thoughts at least once or twice for the semester.
However the class become weird at the final. Instead of trying to explain what we see from the poems, what the metaphors could be, half of the test requires us to recite the poems and fill out the blanks. The other half of the exam went as usual, but everything just felt ridiculous at the end.
The second class was Chemistry.
” I would like everyone to memorize the chemical equations, periodic table and properties of groups in the periodic table.”
Not surprisingly, the class had a lot of contents but pretty dry to listen. I fell asleep several times during the semester, probably so did my classmates. To make sure we could get good grades on this class, we tried our best to memorize everything in the class. We were even reviewing after midnight the day before the final.
The final required us to predict a super complicate reaction with the permission of using our notes and even the internet. The teacher did mention about how to use scientific searching engines to find references, however we never did it ourselves. Half of the exam we were trying to figure out what we should be searching. We were also allowed to discuss with each other during the exam, this did make us less miserable, but I did not feel very effective when discussing with others. I screwed up this one as well.
I’m the poetry teacher.
At the very beginning, I was trying to have my students engaged in the discussion about poems, let them feel about the scene the authors depicted. I require the class share thoughts with each other, so that they could learn from different perspectives. I thought feelings and how to express them, is one of the most important thing we can learn by reading poems. However, one day, I got worried. I was worried that thoughts generated on thoughts are so overwhelming that the origin poem were left behind and forgotten. I was worried that other beauties lie in the form of poems were neglected. So I decided to make the final closer related to poems themselves. I didn’t expect they could do well on the exam, but I will explain my thoughts to them. Surprisingly, some students can still finish out the poems (or some of the poems) pretty well.
I’m the chemistry teacher.
I start my class with emphasizing the importance of memorizing everything and of deducting one from the other. But students seemed not attracted to them. Some students even fell asleep. I started to wonder what was wrong. By retrospecting my way of accomplishing tasks, I memorize the basic but always look up about things I may need but do not know. Right, that’s right. I should not let my students to memorize everything, once they graduate from school, they will need more than knowing the knowledge to adapt. I should let them know the importance of the tools. I picked up a reaction for them to predict in the final, and I encourage them using the tools they know. It should not be hard for them. Well, it turned out that they actually are not that familiar with the tools. Even for this generation that grows up with the internet, gaps exist between blocks of the flat world.