Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Teach, therefore I Am

This is supposed to be an academic blog, right? Sorta.

Anyway, winter term class is going very well. Despite the height of flu season, I had a great class recently, in which our discussion launched into some more meta issues. One student made the comment that history is not an exact science, that it's always got some interpretation. Another student had a minor freak-out about the student's statement. "How can you say it's not exact? There are facts. That's not interpretation."

He replied, "Ok, such as?"

She said, "A bunch of people signed the Declaration of Independence. That's a fact."

I added, "Yes. Why?" Long pause. "That's where the interpretation comes into it."

That led down the road to how historians, as well as the people living through the historical events themselves, all have biases that get in the way of objective history. And how we evaluate sources and attempt to get as close to the truth as possible.

"So who can we trust?" she asked in clear frustration.

I answered, "Me." They laughed. Which is exactly what I hoped they'd do.

*****

In other splendid teaching news, registration just opened up for Spring term, and I've already got 5 students signed up. And one is a repeat customer from this term. I'll take that as a compliment.

*****

In other other promising teaching news, I've been requested to send more information for a full-time job at the local cc. Not to the interview stage yet, but it is better than I've done thus far.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Neel Mehta said...

No offense, but if your name isn't Stephen Colbert, I can't trust you.

1:45 PM  
Blogger EJ said...

history is not an exact science...I didn't know it was any kind of science.

History is written by the victors...ie. the civil war versus the war of northern aggression

9:31 PM  
Blogger EJ said...

ok, I guess it is a social science...which i guess means you can drink beer while you discuss it

9:32 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

You're saying you never drink beer while discussing chemistry?

5:49 AM  
Blogger EJ said...

actually last week I taught the kids about getting flies drunk and measuring it on the inebriomometer...by the way, what do you call the gene that when mutant results in the flies becoming drunk faster.....................cheapdate. This is not a joke, this is the real name of the gene. Other genes that have been identified: tipsy and barfly (resistant to alcohol).
They appreciated the 'crackometer"as well!

8:07 AM  

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