of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Advice to Students/Teaching “Truth”

What does it mean to be prepared for college?  Having the money?  Getting registered?  Attitude?  Communication ability?

We are still in our first week of classes and already some students are beginning to struggle–even though some might not recognize that they are setting themselves up for failure.  Although I cannot use any specific examples from this semester, I do see certain patterns from semester to semester.  One main problem is communication.  Students don’t realize how to effectively communicate with their professors.  For example, a student will try to have an extended conversation during the six minutes between classes; conversations that would be better to have during an appointment or office hours.  When so little time is given, it is impossible for the professor to help the student.  This is especially surprising when I have office hours immediately before or after class.

Another problem is simply not communicating.  Given the availability of e-mail, it is easy for students to make contact, ask questions, and so forth.  At other times, the tone of the e-mail is inappropriately demanding.

I was thinking about this because of two incidents that happened today.  I have sometimes thought about writing an “advice for students” blog in Etena Sacca-vajjena.  Unfortunately, each time I have tried, I have not been able to get the tone correct.  I always come across as either too pompous or condescending.    Maybe some day I will be able to get the essay to work.

Today I taught the first 20 minutes of the Bill Moyers’ interview with Dr. Kahlil Gibran Mohamed that Dan Duso recommended last week in a Facebook posting. As part of today’s lesson, I told students the story of my 24th great grandfather and what a wonderful guy he was. I then asked the students if the story I told about Grandpa was true. They did some research and discovered that I had left out the “minor” detail that he was one of the four knights who assassinated Thomas Becket.  I have discussed this lesson in more detail in “Truth vs. Truthfulness:  Teaching Sir William de Traci.”

With that as the opening of class, it was a perfect transition into the Moyers’ interview that covered, in part, the issue of white washing history; something I did when telling my students about grandpa.

One of the things that I really like about Facebook is when people expose me to quality articles, videos and so forth that I might not have stumbled on myself.




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