So students have their Singles Manifesto assignments coming due, so this week was the session where they could peer review each other’s week (I’m primarily a writing instructor, so peer review is a mainstay in my pedagogy). I’m choosing to take this week’s posting to reflect on things midstream, as it was the midpoint of the semester, and hence, midterm week.
Halfway through each course, I solicit feedback from my students as to what they like about the course, as well as what could be improve. Since this is a course that comes from my soul in ways my writing courses don’t, and this is my first time teaching it, I was particularly anxious to hear the feedback.
Some positive remarks I got were: “I like the writing assignments because it feels like a journal about my singlehood journey…I like that we discuss positive ways to view singlehood.” Quite a few liked the assignments where they go to a restaurant and movie theater solo (“these activities…can potentially help students overcome insecurities of being single or alone”). I’m not a big lecturer in my teaching style, so our sessions consist of writing exercise, small-group discussion, and whole-group discussion. Students appreciate that. But, of course, I’m always looking to spice things up.
One student suggested stating a question and students offering their opinions, much like a Socratic seminar. I did that quite a bit in my Honors Composition course last semester, and we had some pretty passionate discussions. I’m thinking that would be a great thing for future readings, particularly when they come from Happy Singlehood.
A couple of students suggested more discussion about popular culture, which is our next unit J. Another suggested discussing the sex lives of single adults, which is very valid. Perhaps a student question can lend itself to it, and maybe in the course syllabus, I can put a disclaimer, “We will discuss sex in the course.” In the first assignment, I might have as a guiding question, “If you have sexual needs, how will you get them met?” Of course, students don’t have to answer it; it’s just a point of discussion. They are college students, but our administration is very conservative, so I have to be careful. Something to reflect on.
Some ideas: show an episode of a matrimaniacal TV show (The Wonder Years is the first one that comes to mind, mostly because I already have DVDs of all the seasons and Wi-fi at my school doesn’t allow for YouTube or Netflix viewing; there’s also The Simpsons episode where Marge tries to promote a “Families Come First” tax initiative). Maybe guest speakers? It’s a one-credit, one-hour a week course so, sadly, I’m limited in the things I can really do with it. But, if/when I design this as an online course for purchase (or maybe a face-to-face course), who knows what can be done?
More to come! We’re off this upcoming week (spring break is a nice perk of my profession), so we’ll see you in two weeks!
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.