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Pedagogical Perspectives

Thoughts, Opinions, and Ideas about Postsecondary Pedagogies

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January 2016

The First Five Minutes

The beginning of a new semester is upon us, but for most it has not arrived yet. That means we’re in that final stage of polishing syllabi and searching out those last minute tips and pointers on being better educators, using our classroom time better, and managing the grade load. On my quest for fresh ideas for the spring, I stumbled upon James M. Lang’s most recent CHE article, “Small Changes in Teaching.” Lang offers four strategies for the first five minutes of a class period, and while I was excited to see that Lang offers writing as a strategy for starting class, I was more excited to find that each of the activities he presents can be used for community building as well. Lang doesn’t bring up this opportunity in his article, so I thought I might share with you how you might use three of these techniques to incorporate community building at the start of each class. (I could write all day about how I use writing to start a class, but that’s a different post) Continue reading “The First Five Minutes”

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Diving In To Examine the Potential Power of Images

FICTION SUITS

Grant Morrison, in describing, in a bit of existential retrospection, how people come to perceive or interact with the 2D world of superheroes and comic books from the “higher dimension” of the real world recounts how:

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby could send drawn versions of themselves into the created world of Fantastic Four, and those little drawings of Stan and Jack were like angels, UFOs, avatars from a higher universe, entering a world they’d made to interact with its inhabitants. They created, as I cam to call them, ‘fiction suits,’ like space suits for sending yourself into stories. (Supergods 226-7)

Let’s be honest…this sounds pretty freaking awesome. Morrison enacted a similar feat of sorts at the end of his run on Animal Man for DC Comics from 1988-90. The final story saw the character of Animal Man, who had already experienced (while on peyote) a breaking down of the 4th wall in his reality and realizing that he was a character of fiction, had the character arriving at Grant Morrison’s very door-step to confront his own creator. This meta-confrontation/discussion was the final issue of Morrison’s run and ended with the character of Animal Man receiving his life back, including his murdered family. Continue reading “Diving In To Examine the Potential Power of Images”

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