Friday, January 17, 2020
January 17, 2020: Spring Semester Previews: Adult Learning Classes
[As of next week my sabbatical is officially done and I’m back to full-time teaching. So this week I’ll share some previews for my Spring 2020 classes, focusing on new readings I’m adding this semester and leading up to some updates on book talks and projects. I’d love to hear what you’re up to as well!]
On adapting the same overall topic for two very different adult learning settings.
This Spring I’ll be teaching once again for the two adult learning programs for which I’ve had the chance to teach most frequently over the last half-dozen years: Fitchburg State’s Adult Learning in the Fitchburg Area (ALFA) and Assumption College’s Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE). (I’ll also be teaching a second course for Beacon Hill Seminars on the subject of my most recent book, We the People, but that’s a topic for another time/post!) But for what I’m pretty sure is the first time across all those classes and semesters and programs, I’ll be teaching the same basic topic in the same semester (indeed, basically across ten consecutive weeks, as the two five-week courses abut one another) for both ALFA and WISE. Both classes will focus on readings and conversations related to a topic that is not coincidentally also a central subject of my proposed next book project (for more on which watch this space, natch): examples and models of critical patriotism from both American history and our contemporary moment.
I’m not gonna pretend for a moment that I plan to reinvent the wheel for each of these two very similarly focused classes—I’m sure it’s obvious to any reader of this blog that I enjoy the feeling of having multiple balls in the air, but that’s a very different thing from juggling chainsaws and I try to steer clear of the latter as much as possible. But at the same time, I quite literally can’t run the two classes in exactly the same way, as the programs themselves operate differently: ALFA classes cap at about 25, meet in FSU classrooms, and are intended to run as discussions/seminars; while WISE classes cap at around 75, meet in large lecture halls/auditoriums, and are intended to run mostly as lectures (with time for questions/responses from the students at the end of each session). So, for example, I can and generally do ask ALFA students to read materials in between classes, as that makes it much easier to have full discussions of them during our sessions; but not only is there not really space for such discussions at WISE classes, but I would also feel badly asking them to read materials when there isn’t much opportunity to share their thoughts on them. So while I’ll likely share many of the same voices and texts in both classes, I’ll do so in those significantly distinct ways—which, I hope, will lead to distinct yet interconnected insights and ideas for the book!
Speaking of, book updates this weekend,
PS. What’s on your Spring 2020 horizon?