At one point today, there were twelve students in my office discuss their research and a variety of other topics. At various points during the day, students ran the show in my office. As new students would arrive, those whom had been there for a while would ask them to describe their research and what they learned during the semester. Even when I am forced from my office because there is no room and I have to sit next to the coffee pot listening to students talk, I enjoy the conferences to much.
Conferences are an important way to end the semester. Students are able to show off good work and I am able to tell them what I think are their accomplishments. It is very positive and most students end up with a better sense of the quality and importance of their work as a result.
I am also able to gain valuable feedback about the course which allows me to make changes to improve quality.
By the end of the day, I am exhausted. But it is time well spent.
Last night I read Melanie Phillips’ “The New Intolerance” (Standpoint, May 2012). In a Facebook discussion, I took issue with Phillips because she assumes that all atheists have the same world view; that Richard Dawkins did not speak for all atheists. Glenn Sunshine replied that she was speaking only of the New Atheists, but I noted that she had not used that phrase in the article. Glenn did not agree with my reading and wondered if the term New Atheist was used in the United Kingdom.
If the semester was not ending, it would have been great to teach this conversation and the article. Not only does it show scholarly discourse and demonstrate the individuals can disagree respectfully, but there is also the issues of differences between terms used in Great Britain and the United States. There is also the issue of how individuals can get different things from an article because they approach it from different world views.