Untenable I

If I did not have such a heavy service load or such a broad teaching range at the upper division to graduate level, and if we had an actual language program in place such that I knew what our goals and preferred methods actually were, then I might, despite the fact that this is very far down on my list of personal priorities, but I might be willing to take the time and energy to figure out how, in the absence of a/v equipment, to reliably have more entertaining materials than a blackboard and my voice for these classes.

Part of the reason I resist making handouts or sending PowerPoints out on Moodle is that the textbook itself is very good. I understand that the students do not want to open it. I realize that in their other departments, use of written or printed materials is not required. I know that my exchange student, in a STEM field, came under criticism from her supervisor, an endowed chair, for wanting to use the library’s journal databases — he feels she should only read what he downloads and sends to her, and does not understand that she might want to do general reading.

I, however, still use books in all courses, even when they are beyond the level at which one would have a textbook. I have tried not having them, and I have tried just having websites with linked documents. These options, unless you have the time and energy to make them perfect for your particular population, are worse unless all your students really have reliable Internet access, are generally well prepared for college, and are actually interested in the course. I also think it is important, in a multi-semester, multi-section, lower division program that has no common teaching goals but does have a common textbook, to use that textbook; otherwise there is no common thread at all.

Axé.

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