Comments on: Hats off to Mr. Warmup http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:56:07 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: polisciprof http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1284720 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 14:01:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1284720 Maybe my discipline lends itself to the warm-up chat. I use the minutes while students are still filing in and I am taking roll (via seating chart, for classes up to 80) to talk about current events, campus issues, etc. That tends to wake up enough students to keep the class lively.

I admit to engineering my class on occasion. I’ve allowed students who I know to be engaged discussion starters to a full class. Grading one more student’s work was worth the saved effort in “pulling teeth”.

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By: Katherine http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1284691 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 13:38:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1284691 This is all so sad! It is one of the reasons I don’t let students use computers in class; if they aren’t engaged with me, making eye contact, asking questions, laughing at my jokes, examining the images on my powerpoint, I am terrible. I tell them that, and explain that whatever they think they might be missing in “information” by having to take notes by hands, they are more than gaining something in terms of class discussion and a better class performance from me. Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to keep computers out of the class room, but I once allowed them, and had just this sort of experience, all hidden behind their screens, shopping, texting, playing solitaire. It was terrible for all of us. So far the blow back from students hasn’t been too severe, and most appreciate that I am engaged with them.

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By: loumac http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1283007 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 03:53:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1283007 Shane and H-Ann – good point about the post-sabbatical reinsertion! I was in fact on leave for all of last year, and even though this class is populated with non-majors and freshpeople, the fact that I wasn’t teaching last year means that I wasn’t a known quantity that students were talking about as they were advising each other about classes. It’s even more pronounced among our majors – there are core classes I usually teach which were covered by someone else, so it’s as if they don’t know me at all!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282824 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 01:55:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282824 Shane: how long was your sabbatical? I took one for all of 2007-08, and among the undergraduates, it was as if I was a new faculty member all over again when I returned. That is, their institutional memory is so collapsed that if you don’t teach your classes for one year, they and you are new all over again. That’s how it worked for me, and I wonder if that’s maybe part of what you’re experiencing now.

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By: Shane in Utah http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282776 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 01:34:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282776 Teaching a population of mostly English majors in Utah has challenges and frustrations of its own, but lack of engagement is rarely one of them; I find them usually quite eager to engage, in fact. But since returning from sabbatical last fall, I have walked into a room full of silent students (never more than 30 in my classes) quite a few times. I don’t remember it happening much before, and I confess to finding it unsettling.

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By: Brian Ulrich http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282496 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 22:53:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282496 What EW describes is foreign to my experience. Instead, I find students frequently taking classes with friends and using the immediate pre-class minutes to catch up or other chat, and these sometimes draw in other students in their immediate area. I also wonder if students from rural areas are more willing to engage with strangers than those from urban ones. The adults certainly are in other public venues.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282459 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 22:26:24 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282459 errata: 15 rather than TEN minute intervals between classes…

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282458 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 22:24:13 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282458 I walk into a lot of resoundingly silent classes too, but these are especially large sections of students who are with us courtesy of the curricular bayonet. They tend to be early-on in their college careers and don’t know each other. The eerier part is *dark* classrooms. Even if you don’t expect to chat with strangers, I would think somebody would flip the lights on, but typically they don’t. These are mostly windowed classrooms, but they are still very dim a lot of the time. When I flip the lights some students visibly startle. Some of them are also squinting at screens, but not all that many. When I teach twice consecutively in the same room, I leave the doc cam on, with a hopefully disruptively non-relevant image from the last class beaming out for the curious to wonder about.

A lot of students also come very early, and we have 15 rather than fifteen minute intervals between classes. Commuters come early and sit in their cars at the ends of filled rows of parking spaces waiting for openings, so when there are gaps between scheduled classes, some of them might sit in the classrooms for a half hour or more for want of the imagination or energy to seek out anywhere else on campus to wait. That may somewhat promote their silence, since if you do strike up a chat with a stranger you might have to be ready to maintain engaged for longer than you want to. Who knows? But I like the idea of the warmup personna; and think maybe I’ll have to try some more things to get attentions engaged. I can’t say that I remember incredible pre-class conversations from my own college days, when the only social media available were the willingness to break the ice. Maybe some enterprising undergraduates should form a dramaturgic club to “ambush” silent classes with skits and get them revved up as a contribution to “service learning.” With all the talk about “mindfulness mediation” going around these days, though, somebody would probably file a complaint with the Cosmic World Court.

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By: Kathie http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282350 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 21:25:57 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282350 When I was teaching in the pre-personal device era (not that long ago!), I noticed that it really helped if there was a critical mass of engaged students – I usually thought it required more than one student, but I can imagine that one Warmup student could work. Once I taught similar courses at two different campuses in the same quarter. Though one was at a small liberal arts college and the other at a large public university, both classes were small, around 20 students, and had very similar organization, topics, etc. One was like pulling teeth, to use an old cliche, it just never gelled; the students just stared at me and remained mute. The other was lively and informed, students totally engaged with the material, and fortunately rebuilt my damaged self-esteem from the other course. I felt it was a bit random, and just depended on which students ended up in a classroom. Too bad you can’t seed a class with engaged and outgoing students when you need them!
And, oh yes, the lively class was at the large uni, despite ideas that the small college would be more collegial and the uni more impersonal.

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By: nicoleandmaggie http://www.historiann.com/2013/01/17/hats-off-to-mr-warmup/comment-page-1/#comment-1282257 Thu, 17 Jan 2013 20:24:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=20419#comment-1282257 I wonder if that study controlled for scholarships (as that’s an obvious omitted variable linked to both grades and how much a student pays) or composition of who goes to each type of school (for example, someone with connections at a non-elite school may be lower quality than those at non-elite schools without connections). I don’t wonder enough to look up the original study though.

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