Bragging rights


I thought it would be neat to hear from all the teachers out there. Have you ever taken a course/subject that is traditionally dull and dry and turned it around in the classroom through your teaching efforts?

The bragging begins here: I can actually make philosophy of education interesting!

Any others?

Anon 2:
Since you started the trend of honesty, no. I'm actually too focused on my own research to even care.

I hope this thread didn't start out too peppy and cheerful. My intention was to hear from other teachers out there and to celebrate the small victories we sometimes have in this difficult profession. And oh yes, I am also a researcher (academe doesn't have to be an either/or division in order to have a voice).

I wound up having to teach "Physiological Psychology," a course dealing with the biological aspects of psychology, such as neurotransmission, brain and behavior, and the biological factors in learning, memory, psychological disorders, etc. It is a course with a reputation of being boring and requiring students to memorize dozens and dozens of terms.

I decided to not have the memorization of dozens of terms be a primary goal of the course. I thought the course objectives could be accomplished without an enormous amount of rote memorization. I then tied the course to real life by having the students debate real-life issues related to the course topic, such as "Should animals be used in research?" and  "Is our sexual behavior genetic?" I also included videos portraying people who had experienced brain damage. I brought a brain made out of jello and had students identify its parts.

I took a course I had dreaded teaching and turned it into a course I looked forward to. Students had a choice between this course and another to fulfill their requirement. Some of them told me that they regretted taking the other course instead of mine.


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