This refers to the “come up with your own assignment and I have to ok it” option. This assignment is the epitome of my teaching philosophy for this course. It gives them the opportunity to create their own learning, to think about what they need to know, what situation to apply this course to. I obviously don’t know what they are going to come up with but I will continue to revisit this post to list their assignments. I told them that it must engage others in some way, either digitally or in person. The examples I offered was giving a toast at a celebratory event during the semester and practicing for a job interview. Here is what they have come up with so far:
Asking the boss for a raise. The plan is for us to help her in a coaching/roll play session, then she does the ask, reports back and writes two pages about the experience for me.
Talking to the boss who intimidates my student. This was scrapped because she quit her job.
One student wants to read a poem she wrote in front of the class. So she’ll do that, then answer questions about the poem, then write me two pages about the experience. (This 2-page reflection is required for almost all of the optional assignments.)
Debate. One student suggested she debates others on marijuana laws (of course) and a bunch of students jumped in on that (of course) so now we have to figure out how to organize it. The next class session I will talk to them about their responsibility to organize this thing. I’ll take a little bit of time to help them (like 5 minutes) but I am not going to spend class time figuring this out. They have to do it. Update: The organizer gave me the date they’d be doing their debate (LOVE THAT she felt empowered enough to take control of the class time in this way), and said they’ve been dividing up the topic, sure everyone will get 2-3 minutes to present.
We’ve had a number of these now. List so far:
Student read a poem he wrote.
Student sang a song.
Student showed us some of her drawings and explained them.
Student taught us about Nigerian Pidgin English.
Student taught us how to make Nigerian rice.
Student taught us how to meditate.
Student wrote and presented one of his raps.
Summarizing now: lots of how-to speeches, especially emergency health situations, lots of personal poems and art exhibits. One student explained her 23 and me results, one read a letter by her newly married aunt written 20 years ago to the aunt’s mother. A few students engaged in debates–one on the legalization of marijuana (as promised), and one on the death penalty.
So far, so good. The students are excited both about presenting what they want and listening to their classmates do their thing. And I’ve been very moved as to how personal some of these presentations have been and the openness and kindness with which the class received them. I am surprised there hasn’t been more online or at least out-of-class assignments but we’ve had time to accommodate everyone so far and it’s been really fun watching them do an assignment they have created.