MyAmericanFuture

MyAmericanFuture
MyAmericanFuture

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6-7, 2014: Crowd-sourced Fall Plans

[As I did a couple years back, I wanted to start the fall semester by highlighting a few of the things I’m working on and looking forward to this fall. For this crowd-sourced post, I’m sharing some of the fall plans of fellow scholars and friends—I’d love to hear about what you’ve got going on for the final few months of 2014 in comments!]
First, one more plan of mine: in mid-October, I’ll have the opportunity to be one of the social media chroniclers of the Delange Conference IX at Rice University. You’ll be able to read my live responses to that important event and conversation on Twitter, but I’ll be following it up with a mid-October series in this space as well.
My colleague and friend Kisha Tracy follows up Thursday’s post on FSU’s strategic planning with her own thoughts on the process: “One of the major takeaways so far is the idea of what the ‘student of the future’ is going to look like, particularly here at FSU (interesting read). As Technology Working Group Chair, this has been on our minds, as has the concept of what we want our culture here to be like (re: online courses of varying kinds in particular). I've been collecting useful quotations from readings here.”
Paul Beaudoin follows up Kisha’s thoughts, adding, “I have lots of ideas about the ‘Student of the Future,’ and in many places of the world, that student has already arrived.”
AnneMarie Donahue follows up my arguments for multilingualism in that post, noting, “Multilingualism is a not only an asset to the student but is a core 21st Century Skill (a term I'm slowly growing to loath as this is often just equated to technology based education, but at core is a decent term). However, I would argue that attempting to educate a student in an additional language at 18, 19, or 25 (which is the average age of the FSU student) is like closing the barn door after the horse escaped. Multilingualism needs to start at a childhood endeavor. If you are hoping to inspire a love of another culture, great multi-cultural tolerance (another word that I just despise...if the best you can offer your fellow man is tolerance, you aren't doing a good job at being human) or if FSU's goal is simply to introduce students into a multicultural view of America then there are better way than asking someone to sit through Spanish I & II. I worry that I'm coming across a belligerently ignorant in this love to not educate. I would have loved to learn another language, but I'm learning disabled and learning languages is really difficult. Colleges and universities by and large do not have plans in place for students who, while determined and hard working, still have difficulties with processing. Trust me, I know. This comes from a lifetime of working twice as hard just to be a C+ student. Language courses could be a great way to start a student looking at America as a non-English primacy world. But there are other ways to do this without compromising their curriculum or alienating processing deficient students. Perhaps, if the goal is multi-culturalism and not multi-lingualism then a new class or series of classes could be created to satisfy this.
The great Ian Williams follows up my discussion of blogs as scholarship in that same post, saying of this blog that it “exemplifies thoughtful, timely scholarship—the delight of seeing a mind unfolding, not already unfolded” (which may be the most pro-Ben thing I’ve ever posted here, and I apologize, but I wanted to share it as a perspective on why blogs should be treated and evaluated as such).
Another colleague and friend, Heather Urbanski, shares some of her fall plans: she’s “working on editing a new collection for McFarland on Memory and Popular Culture (drafts are due in November) and presenting a paper on The Hunger Games and collective memory at the Northeast PCA/ACA conference at the end of October.”
Jay Shaw notes, “My daughter is auditioning for The Nutcracker this Saturday. First ballet audition for her, big day for both of us.” That’s today, Saturday 9/6, so make sure to send some good thoughts her way if you would!
Next series starts Monday,
Ben

PS. So one more time: what’s on your autumn agenda?

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