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:: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 ::

Second Week Critique



It's the second week (and only fifth day) of classes now, so I feel comfortable giving a real critique of my classes now. Without further ado...

Logic - The syllabus doesn't look too bad, and I'm not having any trouble with the class so far. The teacher is from Austria and sounds a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The accent doesn't make him hard to understand, and actually, it helps keep class interesting. He presents dry material dryly, and jumps ahead a bit, giving commentary on concepts he hasn't introduced yet. What I heard today from Jess scares me the most--her suitemate took the same class with the same prof, and the entire thing went to hell later in the course. Massive homework, hard stuff. I'm taking it for "fun" (and it is fun now), so I may just change it to S/U grading if it gets hard. I was hoping it would pad my average, but I don't want to risk it dragging my GPA down.

Japanese - The textbook is neat. The class is more of the same--learning straight from the book, reading stuff aloud, reading it with your partner, people getting picked on to read aloud, then a ditto sheet. The worst bit is when we have to correct her, a Ph.D. candidate, about stuff. She sighs with an embarrassed laugh and says, "Oh, Japanese is so difficult...". If it's difficult for her, it's going to be very challenging for us. >_<

Urban Design - Awesome class. Professor Pipkin is an amazing professor and teaches very well. The material is very interesting to boot. When you find a class where the readings are an absolute joy, major in it. ^_^ Apparently we'll have a zillion readings coming up in the semester, but for now it's not bad.
Side note--at the end of class yesterday I asked if he would feel comfortable writing a letter of reccomendation for my study abroad packet. He replied that he could get it done by next week.

"Oh, there's no real rush," I said, "It's due in three weeks..."

"It won't be a problem," he replied. "Some reccomendations are difficult to write, but this one won't take me very much time at all."

Woo! ^_^ Okay, back to the classes:

Journalism - The prof is such an interesting guy. He's a real newspaper man, he just looks
the part--tall and rail thin, he wears an olive overcoat on top of a business suit. The suit matches and all, but looks more like dress casual clothing with a tie just thrown on. The knot is never tight and the tie dangles from his neck.
On the first day of class he came in wearing a Boston Red Socks winter hat. I don't know if anyone sneered at the sight of it, but I'm guessing at least one person wanted to. On the second day of class, he wore a Yankee's winter hat. Needless to say all the sports fans were confused.

The prof is really good at setting "traps" that really make you think. Last class we interviewed a classmate and wrote up a 250 word blurb about the person. "Adam," (he doesn't wait for people to raise their hands, he pulls names off the class list), he said, looking over his paper, "how do you know these things about Vanessa?"

"...I asked her," Adam replied, and the class chuckled.

"But how do you know they are true? It says here that she's an English major... how do you know she's an English major?"

Aha! Awesome, I thought. What a kick in the pants--you know this whole article you wrote, guys? It could all be false, and you didn't think twice about it! It was a powerful message.

I'm really on my toes on this class because a) I don't want to look foolish and b) with these cool "traps" you have to be. Today he was asking questions around and got to my name.

"Karla, if you could interview anyone, who would it be?"

"That's a hard question to answer on the spot," I said while musing.

"One of your top ten, then."

"Well, the easy answer is... I guess I would have to say President Bush," I answered.

We were talking about objectivity at this point in the class. "Do you think you would be able to keep your bias out of the interview?", the professor asked.

"I would try, but I don't think I could completely."

"If you don't mind telling us, what is your bias?"

"Anti-war," I said.

The professor nodded. "If you could ask the President a question, what would it be?"

I thought about it, then haltingly answered, "I guess... I would ask him if he felt comfortable lying to the American people. From the facts I've seen he knew he was... I would probably ask him about that."

He looked impressed. "I'll get you the number of the White House Press Office."

The class laughed. I love it when stuff like that happens!

The professor isn't the smoothest in the classroom, but the way he makes us think rocks. He is a true teacher, I think. Some people are born for this thing, and not all of them end up in the front of a classroom. Mr. Richards, my high school Global Studies teacher did. So did Mr. Desharnais, my English teacher. This guy is a writer and editor for the AP, not an "educator" per ce. But he still is one of the best teachers I've had here.

...after a week, anyway. There's still a whole semester to go. ^_^

:: Kazen 1:57 PM [+] ::
:: ... 0 comments | backtrack ::



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