Grades & Guests

Marcy Bauman (marcyb@UMD.UMICH.EDU)
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 13:11:06 -0400

On Mon, 26 Aug 1996, Bob King wrote:

> Sometimes I think the mere presence of another
> adult/authority figure in a classroom, another teacher or whatever, opens
> the forum up. Sometimes the guest might really make the thing hop.
> Imagine how one of those knatty discussions about religion that folks on
> this list talked about a lot recently, and imagine how such an online
> discussion would change if there were a minister, rabbi, and/or adult
> representatives of some other tradition, or even a prof of religious
> studies, involved in the discussion. Knowing the character of this list,
> chances are someone has done this, too, in one way or another. If so, it
> would be fun to hear about it.

The best discussion I've seen was a rather brief one, but it
involved Muslim students from my class writing to students investigating
the Salman Rushdie affair for a class at another university. Like Beth's
prison/crime example, this situation worked because it was motivated by
student interest (on both sides of the exchange), and because it arose
in a specific context in response to a particular set of questions/issues
in the classes involved. In other words, it was a happy accident.

I think I'm in the business of trying to engineer happy
accidents. They're the only answer I've found to the conundrum about
what to do about motivation after you've removed (or diluted) grades.


Marcy Bauman
Writing Program
University of Michigan-Dearborn
4901 Evergreen Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48128

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