My week has gone as expected. Each of my seminars are working on their guiding questions in small groups while I met with students individually to discuss their papers.
Last week (after they agreed to their plan) I made it clear that, during this phase, they had license to go where they thought they could best interact, including the library or even the cafe. (Yes, I trust them.)
The caveat was they they kept me informed. My 8:00 class missed the finer points of “keep me informed.”
I got to class on Monday and the room was empty. It was still empty at 8:03 when my PC came in to let me know where they were. On Sunday they all made the decision to meet at the library.
It’s harder to teach risk taking and student empowerment than it is to teach compliance so I didn’t care. Yes, they blew off my rule but they acted as I want them to act!
I celebrated what I saw as success, and told them as much. I didn’t absolve them of the need to follow the rule, but that’s an easy fix for later. But had I focused on the rule I might never have seen them take initiative again.
Here’s the lesson: Reward what you really want.
The opportunity? Liz, my 2:00 PC, noticed that the groups of four or five were limiting students’ exposure to fresh ideas. She proposed that we run some “mash-up” days where the groups reconfigure and share their work with a new set of eyes and ideas.
My other PC (Tabetha and Mia) thought it was a great idea. I agreed. It’s on them to decide when and how this’ll happen.