Monday, August 30, 2010

Meany gets earnest and climbs up on the College Misery soapbox

So, Yaro took a swipe at American Studies based on the supposed policy of a colleague who *gasp* shows films in class (zomg!). Yaro and his fans all leapt to the same baseless conclusion that the colleague should be drawn and quartered even though, based on his own post, Yaro never witnessed the class in progress or saw how the films were deployed in class. Since we've had similar baseless conclusions drawn by others on CM (at least with regard to students who were unwed mothers, criminals, and "videogame addicts"), let's consider some more baseless conclusions about proffies in other college majors just to explore the stupidity of leaping to conclusions:

I have seen lit profs actually READ PASSAGES from novels in class! ZOMG! How could they waste class time by reading to their students? And then they sit in a circle and chat about it! It's college, not kindergarten.

I've seen art historians SHOW SLIDES to their students. Actually pull out a slide projector or (nowadays) waste precious resources (a "Smartroom") to put digital copies of stuff like paintings and architecture on PowerPoint just to show the images the students have in their textbook! Sacre bleu! So wasteful!

And Math proffies WASTE SO MUCH TIME going over sample problems in class. They sometimes even lead students through the sample problems IN THE BOOK! And all that homework they give! If that proffie can't teach it in class so the students don't need practice, then that's a bad, bad proffie. ESPECIALLY if that homework is UNGRADED! Good lord, that's shameful.

And those lazy Bio, Chem, and Physics profs. Some of them actually have their TAs run the lab portions of the course for them! What are they doing in the lecture portion? Mental masturbation as they teach from yellowed notes, right? Each one should be spanked with a paddle for dereliction of duty.

And those sad sack Psych profs who use their classes to explore some pathetic psychodrama with their students. They're the ones who need therapy! No wonder that major is infamous for drawing some of the worst students on campus. Those kids need therapy too!

Oh God, those anthropologists! I hear some of them actually show DOCUMENTARIES in class. How could seeing a visual depiction of a culture possibly help an undergraduate understand that culture? How could learning about other human societies and cultures be of ANY use to a future doctor, lawyer, or businessMAN? (Same for sociology and their emphasis on poor people! Who cares about poor people if you're just in school to get a meaningless degree and make LOTS OF MONEY when you graduate!)

And how did Communications get to be a major? All they do is just sit and watch movies or TV shows in class. They're just like American Studies and English profs who just sit around in a circle with their students for a nice long chat about whatever nonsense the prof just showed the class. TV is dead anyway (and before that, it just rotted your brain), so what use is THAT major?

These are all rumors and innuendo I have encountered during my 22 years of experience with the academy (from undergrad through grad school, from TA to adjunct faculty). In the end, this sort of nonsense is just too much like the humanities vs. sciences debates on RYS, which did nothing except highlight the general disrespect many faculty have for methods of pedagogy in various disciplines (as well as those disciplines themselves). And too many of YOU out there do not hold the value for academic freedom that you should. You cannot evaluate teaching based on a syllabus. Or some fucking rumor about what someone thinks is going on in another classroom. Evaluate the teaching BY WATCHING THE TEACHING. (Isn't this a validity issue, my quantitative colleagues?)

And, yeah, I do have a dog in this fight. One fucktard actually told me I was a bad teacher because I assigned reading and assumed students should do it. "You know they won't read it, so why expect them to do it?" was his argument. That prof-flake disagreed with my pedagogy because he seemed to have none of his own. That experience made me quite sensitive to the little undercurrent of warring pedagogies wherein one professor gathers allies to slay some fictional dragon he (and it's usually a he) has created from smoke and shadows.

Before you pass judgment on someone's teaching methods, I suggest you actually find out what they are first. Same for inappropriately generalizing one instructor's pedagogy to that of an entire discipline. We're supposed to be smarter than that.

*climbs down off the soapbox*


  1. As a student just out of grad school, having adjuncted once, and wanting to teach community college. Thanks. I'm still figuring out my pedagogy details, which is why when some teachers tell me that what I want to try won't work, I ignore them. It might not work for them. But if I took the 20 years I spent in school from K-5yr bachelors to 2yr masters, and it worked for me and others, I'm going to at least try it. Everyone needs to get off their HIGH ACADEMIC FUCKING HORSE and be positive towards each other. Cause those who criticize are really criticizing themselves... wow... thanks Meanest for saying all i've ever wanted to say. And to say that I come from a university that assembly-line produces teachers under one standard theory of pedagogy. All I have to say: people: open your minds to other educational opportunities and methods of teaching! They may actually *shock* work to teach the students something.
    *steps down off soapbox*

  2. I personally know people that teach film classes that do practically nothing but show films. This is not the same thing as reading selected quotes from a text, or showing slides and commenting upon them. The class becomes the equivalent of a screening.

    I can see you're angry but you're too smart not to be able to tell the difference between a prof going over a problem on the board, and a prof sliding in a dvd. If you're too angry to tell the difference, I'll tell you: the first example actually requires teaching.

    When I go to the movies and spend two hours watching Dinner for Schmucks, or Inception, or whatall, is that the equivalent of a taking a class? Because that's what's going on out there in many cases. Teachers are showing movies week after week, with maybe twenty minutes a week of "discussion." You can't evaluate the teaching, meanie, if there IS no teaching.

    This isn't to say Yaro should just assume that it isn't going on, but I suspect he's right about his colleague, and as has been pointed out by others, this business of filling up most of a course with passive movie watching goes on all the time.

    It ain't teaching.

  3. What I think we're witnessing here (and overall on RYS and College Misery) is a group of people who are very frustrated with the limitations placed on them by budgetary constraints, "course catalog" descriptions, missives from Chairs and Deans and Admin, etc. We all want to teach, and I think we all would love to have just one "Oh Captian, My Captain!" moment. Personally, I feel like ramming my head into the wall most days - because the whole system is failing these students and society as a whole - not to mention bashing our teaching dreams into something resembling roadkill. We're living in an world were people are quoted on the news as saying "We [the common people] are being attacked by the educated, intelligent segment of our society." It's become an "us vs. them" situation, where most kids wanna be "them" because "them" don't require study or introspection or hard-work - "them" are entitled to the good life via MTV and American Idol and blowhard punditry. "Us" (you know, the "educated, intelligent" elite) have expectations - you have to prove you deserve something, and work hard to achieve it. And personally, it makes me feel a little less shitty about the student who thinks your jugular vein is in your kidney if I can *pretend* that the subject I teach is harder, more worthy, more relevant than all you other fuckers out there. So this is me admitting that I often find myself placing blame for my students' ignorance at other professors' and teachers' doorstep - which keeps me sane, but makes me bitter AND an asshole. I struggle daily to not become some acrimonious old hag, doling out F's as if it were my duty to keep the rusty gates of the Ivory Tower pure. But dammit, deep down, I just want someone, anyone in my class to have one of those "how fucking cool is that??" moments that those of us who love to learn (and teach) often have. So you know what, fuck it! If some method works (like the time I had my students play charades with anatomical terminology - hysterical!)and a student's lightbulb turns on, use that method like a 10 dollar whore! And if it doesn't, try something else. And if you think you can stand in judgment of ANY other teacher and his/her methods, bite me. Actually, show me your evals, and THEN bite me.

  4. Oh, and I once took a 400-level English Lit class entitled "Archetype and Myth" where we read a book each week and then watched a movie and compared the two. We watched "The Fisher King" and compared it to Chretien de Troyes and Hemingway. We watched "The Dark Crystal" and compared it to Jung and Eliot and Yeats. We watched effing "Labyrinth" and compared it to L. Frank Baum and Lewis Carrol and Maurice Sendak. And we watched interview after interview with Jung and Terry Jones.

    So, yeah - film can be used really well in a class, and it can be used as a time filler. Unless you are in the classroom with the professor, how do you know exactly what's going on? I mean seriously, my prof had to tell people his senior English Lit majors were going to watch a Jim Henson film in class today...

  5. I love Meany!

    I used to get into the "others"-bashing that often goes on in universities, but then, I actually talked to people who taught those subjects and realized that they are not [insert adjectives used to describe some academic group here]. I got out of two PhD programs simply because I got tired of the petty, bullshit mocking that was going on in those programs. Well, that and the fact that I want to study Philosophy just for the fuck of it.

    Go Meany!

    Mathsquatch out.

  6. You know what is NOT going on if the teacher shows "The Fisher King" one week and "The Dark Crystal" the next, followed by Labyrinth, etc.? You know what's not going on if the teacher shows full movies every damned week in their entirety? When you consider that along with allowing time for a potty break, a couple of reminders when the midterm is, and some inane questions, what's not going on is teaching.

    Because there's a finite amount of time with the class, and the movie is taking up most of it.

    I'm not saying you can't show any movies, I'm just saying that if you show a two-hour movie every week, you're a lazy fucker, and you should be fucking fired. (Not you, personally. The collective you.)

    And much of the time we can know what's going on, because these people are our colleagues and we observe. I teach in one building with 15 other people. I know who lets their classes out early, or cancels them again and again. I know who shows movies every. damned. day. I know who lets their students sit there while they blow off office hours.

    I also know this because I've been on many tenure and promotion committees, and I read evals and actually follow up on possible problems.

    We all know who the slackers are. It's not a big secret, either with students or colleagues.

  7. For those of you who are adjuncts or otherwise temporarily employed at universities...I hope you don't give a flying fuck what goes on in someone else's class...I know I sure don't. I've shown a couple of short clips, I've had students read a couple of transcripts that they were supposed to have read ahead of time. Let's not rip on others without really being a fly on the wall.

    For what it's worth, I actually find Yaro with his fucking exclamation mark and sorry ass image to be pretty douche-baggy...not all the way "fucktard" as others have said, but that's his/her schtick. Whatever. It's takes all types to make the world go round. I don't intend to knock myself out on anything that goes beyond what I feel I'm paid to give a shit about. And that winds up being not much. Others might want to consider the same.

    Dr. Cranky

  8. I'm with Meanest. Back off. There are dozens of reasons to use films in classes, and one of the main ones is that students have seen so many films that they are very sophisticated viewers, and that can be leveraged into discussion of texts.

  9. @Stella-

    A) This prof was Emeritus, trained at Oxford, and knew his Jungian psychology and its affect on postmodernism backwards and forwards. I think he was "teaching" quite a bit.

    B) I learned a hell of a lot in that class. Why? Because we had to *actively* watch the film. This wasn't filler. I took reams of notes on those movies so I could compare them to the readings, so I could quote them in papers, and so I could see that there isn't such a huge gap between literature and film as most Lit profs would like you to believe. Repeat: I LEARNED a lot - therefore, he taught the shit out of the topic.

    C) We didn't have potty breaks or reminders about the midterm. We were in class 3 hours a day, twice a week. We were expected to have voided our bladders beforehand or to slip out silently without disturbing the class if "shit just couldn't wait." We were adults and treated as such (which is one of the things I lament today - our students are kids and we have to treat them as such) Oh, and we didn't have a midterm - we had 5-page papers due weekly with a 15-page term paper for our "final." And by "we read a book a week," I mean a 300-400 page book every single week.

    D) And in case you didn't catch it the first time, this was back in 1996 - long before students brought laptops to class or texted on their phones all day. There were 8 of us in a classroom, watching a movie, and occasionally asking the prof to pause it to ask "inane" questions like, "So, if the Skeksis are the inincorporated part of the psyche, are they the male or the female part, or is that irrelevant in this context? Or is this entire film a simplification of the Jungian search for wholeness, with some Henson magic thrown in?"

    E) You just proved my point. If you aren't in the room, you have no right to judge. And in case you haven't noticed, student evals are bullshit. Our "kids" in the classrooms ream us if we challenge them, and they praise the hell out of an "easy A" class without ever saying, "Prof X was easy as hell. That's why I like him." That's my big issue with tenure committees - they rarely sit in the room and experience first hand what the prof is doin,g and make career-changing judgments based on little Sally saying, "He was the meanest professor ever." (Props to Meanie)

    F) You also just proved my other point: not everyone teaches with the same style. Yes there are slackers and yes I completely agree that most profs showing a video every week are weaseling out of their commitment to teach. But not all of them are. So quit being so effing judgmental on your *colleagues* and cut someone a freaking break. In case you hadn't noticed, it's a freaking warzone in those classrooms. We *all* get the urge to duck and cover occassionally. If that's all you do, yeah you are a lazy shit. If you do it once in a while rather than buy stock in Stoli, it's probably a better solution than Prozac and $500 a month for therapy.

  10. Beth, I'm not talking about your teacher. I'm talking hypothetically about the teachers that show movies 80%+ of class time. That's not a different teaching style. That's avoiding teaching. We both basically agree that if all you do is duck and cover, you're a lazy shit. So we're not in disagreement.

    But you're very wrong that we can't know what's going on in the classroom. Evaluations aren't always truthful, but if 75% of the students say the prof shows up late, the prof is probably showing up late. It's time to address it with him/her and ask if that's the case. And again, if everyone teaches in the same building everyone knows anyway.

    We had a prof that was teaching lit instead of composition, contrary to the course description. We found out from the students, from evals and because they were ill-prepared for their next comp course.

    Evals are not all bullshit, and evaluating them is part of a chair's job. It's not some sort of great mystery what goes on in any classroom, if people (especially the chair) is paying attention.

    And I'd also like to note that in general we're a lot more sympathetic, it seems, to the idea that students are lazy shits, than the idea that a good portion of our colleagues might be.

    But a lot of "college misery" involves cleaning up after these people.

  11. I have been watching the posts on this topic pretty closely because I am trying something new this semester with a course I developed for undergraduates. My course sounds similare to what BPB described. Students will read journal articles about topics in The Field, watch episodes of an outstanding television series (sometimes in class; sometimes out of class) which illustrate the topic of the journal article, and they will write papers -- many papers -- to show that they understand the topic and how it was illustrated by the particular episode. We have time in class -- sometimes at the end of the episode and sometimes full class periods -- to discuss and debate the material. In addition, they will complete research papers on a topic in The Field and will present their findings to the class.

    For what it's worth, I spent MUCH more time planning and developing this course than other courses I've created. And it will be a lot of work throughout the semester for both my students and me. I'm not really sure how this makes me lazy.

    Thanks, Beth, for saying that you have a valuable learning experience. That is what I wish for my students too.

  12. I use films for a number of reasons.
    1. Short clips get the point across quickly. Talking about the Bonus Army is one thing, showing them films of the army attacking their camp is another.
    2. Variety. 5-10 minutes of a film on a subject we’re covering helps the students keep their focus.
    3. Sometimes film is itself history. I use various silent films (all short) to spark discussion about the growth of mass entertainment and how movies reflected society. Most of my students are young women so “The Hazards of Helen” or a short comedy about suffragettes gets their attention and gets them talking.
    4. I like throwing the students (I keep wanting to type “the kids”) curveballs. Let’s watch “Molasses to Rum to Slaves” from “1776” and then discuss the role of the slave question during the revolution. What does this “Pvt SNAFU” film say about the US military and the homefront during WWII?
    And, OK, a few, ahem, other reasons.
    4. When I’m too bleeping sick to teach but can’t cancel class, the ol’ circular lesson plan can be a life saver. (we have no TAs)
    5. On those days when I give an exam and then have to teach another couple of hours I use film to give the students a break. I pick a relevant film and give them a question and answer sheet to fill out—things to watch for, issues to discuss in the next class, etc.

  13. Could you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Get Ovah Yourself, Mean Pro? You're an asshole, and display it on this page endlessly. You confuse rudeness with snark. You're a tiny-brained pissant who uses classic bully strategy to get your 5 seconds in the sun.

    Fuck you a million times ovah.

  14. Prissy and Mark (and others), I don't think anyone is questioning the use of films in classes. What was pointed out, I think, was the simply showing of films as a replacement for actually teaching.

    What Prissy notes above does sound like a lot of work, and the integration of films into that class sounds reasonable and very useful.

    And Mark's use of films makes sense, too ... even on a sick day (as someone else pointed out in another thread.)

    I understood this issue to be about lazy proffies who put the DVD in and snooze. And I know they exist.

  15. OK, skipping right over that previous comment (cuz come ON -- we're supposed to offer snark AND substance, not just nasty name-calling)...

    I'd get my butt kicked if I showed more than one classroom session's worth of film, and for that reason I only use short films and clips. Feature-length films can be shown in a) film classes with extra evening screenings, and b) the media lab as homework. We had a dude who used every classroom session to show films of interviews with authors, and you can bet he heard about it from the Dean. So I'm with Beth on actual teaching being required.

    But with that said, yes, film isn't the demon and it's snotty to single it out. There are lots of ways of refusing to teach. You can run discussion classes where you refuse to say anything, as a prof I had in a SLAC did. You can use most classroom sessions for group work, in-class writing, silent reading, or student presentations. You can read out loud for an hour and a half. You can jet off to conferences and force your TAs to deliver lectures (also not allowed where I work -- and I work at a gigantic, generic R1 university).

  16. Yeah, I agree with MPEvah...the Meanest Professor is an asshole. What can we do to get rid of him? Do you need love? Medicine? Let us buy you something so you're not such a creep.

  17. What happens when an asshole arrives at your party and ruins it for the people who can't avoid him? Party breaks up early.

  18. #1 - Fab, get rid of the spammers, please.

    #2 - Thank (most of) you all for actually engaging this controversy (LOOK! I even brought back the trolls!).

    #3 - Stella, because you seem to be the lone hold-out (on this thread anyway), I'd offer this sage advice from my wisest mentor in grad school:

    Sometimes a well-designed assessment is in and of itself a teaching moment. In fact, shouldn't it be?

    So, if some proffie designed a class where class time is devoted to engaging with texts (not just films, but what about looking at slide of famous artwork not in the textbook or archival copies of something actually in the textbook, etc.), it's time well-spent. The "teaching" can occur in the take-home assignments, the occasional pop quiz, the id-term and final exam, the non-media class time devoted to discussion, journal entries devoted to the class experience, online forum discussions, etc.

    If 80% of class time is devoted to "watching films" (or whatever...I *hope* it's really not just about films, per se), then I do agree, there better *damn* well be something else going on for that class. And for that reason I am a huge proponent of classes being occasionally observed. And not just at promotion time!

    Yes, yes, I know that's more work for faculty, but I once TA-ed for a class that the chair decided to observe for a week (there had been "complaints"). The chair complimented her colleague when the week was over because she said she actually learned some new stuff!

    Also, with regard to Yaro's post: I thought of the same thing Marcia noted above. Many profs could just have the films in outside screenings (some schools won't allow that though) or have students just take them out from the library and watch them in the media lab or something (but some schools don't have enough of those resources, esp. for large classes). But, I also thought that 8 DVDs of rather famous films could probably be assigned like a textbook. At $10-20 a pop (or so), there's no reason students couldn't be required to buy (or rent or share) those DVDs for outside viewing (just like reading a novel). If the students at your school don't read anyway and claim to be too busy to attend an outside viewing, there's the rub.

  19. You know what, this group also ran Programming Patty out of here. She hasn't been back in ages.

  20. For American Studies proffies, and those in allied fields, part of the problem is the structure of the university schedule.

    In an ideal world, classes like Yaro's colleague's would be able to be offered like a lab--say, 3 hours of lecture per week, plus one hour of viewing. The viewing could be scheduled at a non-adjacent time, in a separate space, perhaps supervised by a TA.

    I've only ever actually seen this occur at a few unis, including Slightly Fancy University, where I did my doctoral work. What would it take to bring such a model to Yaro's school, I wonder? If he mentioned that he'd heard of such a thing to his colleague, I wonder how the colleague would react?

    Oh, and BTW: In many cases, when proffies do lots of videos in class that students write lengthy responses to, the teaching takes place IN COMMENTS ON THE PAPERS. That is WAY more work than just lecturing, and not lazy at all. Before passing judgment on another's teaching methods or use of in-class time, I'd be curious to know his or her pedagogy in relation to teaching through comments on written work--one of the most labor-intensive forms of teaching I know.

  21. Myra, check out Patty's weight-loss advice. She's alive and well.

  22. Really, Stella? You weren't talking about Beth's teacher? Really? I'm afraid I've got to call shenanigans on that one.

    "You know what is NOT going on if the teacher shows "The Fisher King" one week and "The Dark Crystal" the next, followed by Labyrinth, etc.? You know what's not going on if the teacher shows full movies every damned week in their entirety?"

    I guess that that is one amazingly similar hypothetical class/prof you've constructed from scratch there. I can't imagine how anybody could possibly think you may have been directing your criticisms at any actual person.
    If you're going to be a knee-jerk-reacting judgmental bitch, at least be a knee-jerk-reacting judgmental bitch who sticks to her guns. And, maybe, just maybe, when somebody points out how wrong such responses can be (well spanked, Beth), you could, you know, apologize. For being a knee-jerk-reacting judgmental bitch.

  23. Nemo, you have deliberately left out the sentence that follows the two you quoted. Which is, "you know what's not going on if the teacher shows full movies every damned week in their entirety?"

    If Beth's teacher spent 80% of the time showing movies, and showed them every week (there's no indication of that from her synopsis, but it's possible), then yes, I'm talking about him. If he's not, I'm not.

    But I will amend my statement to read "I'm not NECESSARILY talking about Beth's teacher."

    I don't see how it follows that me discussing hypothetical professors, or even namelessly real ones, causes you to think that you are justified in calling me a "knee-jerk reacting judgemental bitch" on this board.

    Fallacious reasoning, Nemo. Ad hominem attack. Really bad form. And ugly ugly ugly as well.

    And if you think that screening movies for 80% of class time is okay, or you actually practice that yourself, I hope you're not teaching anywhere that I might have power over your tenure decision, because you'd be cast out.

    Have a nice day.

  24. Most psychologists are not psychotherapists.

  25. Stella, as a parting shot before I completely ditch this persona, you scare me.

    You have fixated on 80% like a rabid dog on a very tasty thigh bone. I have absolutely NO idea where you got this made-up number, but it wasn’t from Yaro’s post.

    According to Yaro's post, the following movies (with times acquired from The Internet Movie Database) were to be shown in class:

    1. American Graffiti (110 minutes)
    2. Scarface (170 minutes or 81 minutes)
    3. Bonnie and Clyde (112 minutes)
    4. Dances with Wolves (181 minutes or 224 minutes or 236 minutes)
    5. The Conversation (113 minutes)
    6. Nashville (159 minutes)
    7. Grapes of Wrath (128 minutes)
    8. Shane (118 minutes)

    If we assume that this class occurred in the semester system, then the course lasts 16 weeks. For argument’s sake, let’s assume the class meets twice a week for 75-80 minutes each. If we accept this, then each film could be shown in a week (with one exception of major overflow). So, let’s be conservative and consider that the 8 films can be shown in 8 weeks. 8 weeks for films divided by 16 weeks for a semester = 1/2, which is 50%.

    Gee, 50% is less than that fictional dragon you made up of 80%, isn’t it? And that’s if the prof is really only just showing films in class with absolutely no other pedagogical task accompanying it. Instead of, you know, showing clips interspersed during lecture and discussion.

    Gee, you might be wrong, right? Why is it so hard for you to let go of that 80% figure you have jammed into your noggin that is disrupting your argument?

    And then, in the end, after Nemo pissed you off, you threaten to the world that you would withhold tenure from someone based solely on a fictional scenario YOU MADE UP! Are you seriously this pig-headed offline?

    (Ut-oh…am I calling you a pig if I say you’re pig-headed? Word-police?!?!?! I need a ruling!)

    No wonder some proffies wonder why they’re no longer brave. Profs like you are out to get them if they use a pedagogy you don’t like.

    If you’re not a nut-bag loony, really think about this impression of yourself you so vehemently have presented (without an ounce of introspection). Some people see you as some sort of champion of common-sense. I think you’re dangerous. And that threat in your last post should send chills down people’s spines.

    Have a nice day too.

  26. Seriously? You went to IMDB and hunted down those movie times so you could hold them up and assumably prove me wrong? Wow.

    Meanie, I actually was talking about what I personally have seen done. I wasn't doing a minute-by-minute analysis of any particular prof here becuase there wasn't enough information from any of them, and I myself didn't feel like researching the lengths of particular movies to prove a point. I suspect some of what I was saying might apply to the film profs mentioned. Can't say for sure.

    What I was thinking of was the actual people I actually know, or know of, that do this. The people that have had to be warned by their chairs (not by me) that they have to actually--oh--teach during class.

    As for the 80%, I was merely thinking of the average movie time vs. the class time where I teach. A class once a week at my school meets 150 minutes. 120 minutes (average-ish sized movie) = 80% of 150 minutes.

    I'm not saying anything that other profs haven't said on this same board, or been chastised for themselves. It's not just me. Deans and chairs (I am neither) and other faculty members are sensitive to this issue and generally discourage this. This has been pointed out on this thread and Yaro's original thread as well. The student evaluations cited reflect that students themselves see exactly what's going on when a prof does that, and view the prof as lazy, and the process as filling time. Not the teaching of movies, but the use of the majority of class time as a screening room.

    There are other ways to waste time. I don't see how it's any different from sitting students down for two hours to read silently, after which the work they've just read is discussed.

    You keep focusing on this as a matter of pedagogy, in which I'm painted as some sort of an intolerant tyrant. I'm really not talking about pedagogy. Because a study hall doesn’t involve pedagogy. A screening doesn’t involve pedagogy. I'm talking about two hours a week spent simply sitting and watching a movie. Other people besides myself have asserted that this is not something that should be allowed, and that in fact isn't allowed.

    You don't have to like it. As for tenure, I would definitely seek to reject any candidate that was warned about conducting their class like a study hall, and continued to do what they wanted. Anyone to my mind that insists on spending the vast majority of class making students essentially do their homework in class is not properly using classroom time. I don't care whether they're watching a movie or reading their homework assignment that they should have done the night before.

    I don't see why this is so very radical a view. If my daugher spent 80% of her time in second grade watching movies, I'd be pretty pissed off. And I'd say those teachers were lazy too.

  27. Hey, it's pretty simple, Stella. If you weren't talking about Beth's professor (which you totally were), then I wasn't calling YOU a knee-jerk-reacting judgmental bitch (which I totally was).

    If you were legitimately referring to somebody else who you have observed over time and seen to actually be spending 80% of their time showing movies to the detriment of their class and their students, then that would not qualify as a knee-jerk reaction, nor would your condemnation qualify you as a judgmental bitch.

    If, however, you are adult enough to admit that perhaps the specificity with which you began your argument -- drawing on the exact movies mentioned by Beth and pretty clearly responding to what she said -- indicates that at the time you were referring to this professor you've never met or observed in action... well, I'm pretty sure the shoe fits, whether it's ugly or not.

  28. Actually, my argument began before Beth said a word. And my comments about Beth's teacher began with the word "if".

    I'm hard to fit in shoes, though. I've got a very long second toe.


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