You are an English teacher. You have to teach a class that introduces students to literary postmodernism in 75 minutes, using two short stories. The short stories have been selected, the lecture has been written out, and the general point that needs to come across is neatly packaged into small thought-experiments that tie together parts of the short stories and larger philosophical discussions regarding such things as language, narrativizing knowledge, reality, futurity, etc. The format of the class, as it stands, is a lecture with added interaction based on making students’ minds play with confusing and at times funny logical problems. If, however, you really wanted to impress someone with this lesson you are teaching, what else is there to do? This is a problem I am trying to work through this weekend.
Mind you, you only have this one class to impress someone. You do NOT know the students yet (i.e. you’re teaching someone else’s class and the students have been working on a different period all semester), it’s a large, rising/stadium-seated course (let’s say 40 to 50 students) with you behind a lectern at the bottom of the room. You therefore do not have the luxury of experimenting with things such as groupwork, taking the course beyond the classroom, using technology as an experimental teaching/learning tool, etc. Hence, what can you do to make the students say: “this was fun, very informative, and made me think–I want to know more; where can I sign up for the next class?” Yes, the lecture itself is the main concern here, but what else is there that distinguishes one from other teachers in such a situation. Not having access to my regular techniques, I am feeling somewhat limited in this regard. Any ideas?
Oh, and on a very different note: this week’s episode of Lost was finally a good one again. You can find a great little (comical) synopsis of its highlights on ELECTRA’s blog.