Appreciative students

White geranium I had a lovely chat with some of my students last week. It was a usual level 1 philosophy seminar and I’d put them into groups of 2-3 to go through some Rousseau quotes together and decide what to make of them. After about 25 minutes I said they could have a couple of minutes to wrap up and then we’d reconvene as a class.

One of them asked me about my PhD, and when I said it was on the importance of peer interaction to learning she told me that she thought it was a really interesting subject, and that she was realising that she learnt a lot more from her peers than from just reading or listening to a lecture. I agreed, and said that was why I’d got them working together.

She nodded and said she knew – and she appreciated it. It’s nice when a student appreciates you. 🙂

Flickr photo by me shared under a CC-BY-SA-NC

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4 Responses to Appreciative students

  1. scottx5 says:

    This could lead to a discussion on peers as personal learning networks? My sense of those who disparage peers being invaluable for development is that peers compete with authority on how to understand the world. My experience in school was a sense of being carried off to the island of authority and correct thinking where my silly childish beliefs could be corrected.

    Careful Sarah, you might be modeling adulthood as endless curiosity:-)

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      That’s actually something else we talked about – that peers were better at explaining it to each other as they had a common vocab – I could teach them to act like an academic, but they could help each other understand. I try to give them plenty of empirical evidence of me not being an authority 😉

      • scottx5 says:

        Peers come from a similar environment so the may also be more sharply attuned to what “sounds like” authenticity or confirmations they can disassemble and trust instead of just accepting. People often cloak themselves in layers of expertise as a defense against their self-feeling of being inadequate. I’ve had philosophy instruction that showed no appreciation of the transition from novice to the beginning of understandings. As if the instructor forgotten how they themselves came to where they were at the time. And I shouldn’t pick on Philosophers. Some of my doctors paddle in bilge water as if they were Dolphins sporting in a crystalline seascape. Believe them? By what means would I have?

  2. charlenedoland57 says:

    Wonderful to get that feedback, Sarah! You’ve obviously created a class environment where the students feel comfortable being “real.”

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