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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0400.  Friday, 6 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Kimberly Nolan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 1994 11:16:09 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Teaching & New Knowledge
 
(2)     From:   Michael Cohen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 May 1994 08:38:56 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0397 Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
(3)     From:   Gloria Wilson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 May 1994 12:04:58 CST6
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
(4)     From:   Joseph Lawrence Lyle <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 May 1994 13:24:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
(5)     From:   William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 1994 13:50:43 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Laughter
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kimberly Nolan <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 1994 11:16:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Teaching & New Knowledge
 
While I too am uncomfortable making fun of student's work, I am equally
uncomfortable with placing the blame for for poor exam performance entirely
on an instructor's over burdened shoulders.  One can't properly teach
students who don't come to class, don't read the material, or sleep through
class because they were out all night at a frat party.  Things aren't
quite as formulaic as Bruce Avery makes them out to be.  I wish they were;
we'd all get to read better exams and give fewer Ds and Es.
 
Kimberly Nolan
U of Miami
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Cohen <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 May 1994 08:38:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0397 Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0397 Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
I already responded to the author who proposed that publishing student bloopers
was unfair and unprofessional, and I thought to let it lie, but with the sudden
rush (okay--two messages) agreeing with this view, I thought I would share my
counter argument.
 
First, it is not clear to me that anonymous reports of student blunders hold
ANYONE up to ridicule. I think we are being more than over-sensitive here.
 
Second, we don't share all student blunders; we share the FUNNY ones. Why?
Because WE enjoyed them; they lightened our day (after a grueling time reading
essay after essay, all on the same topic). Funny bloopers have, in fact, become
a commercial genre, with TV specials devoted to them, books, columns in
magazines. I don't want to be ridiculed by name because I made a typo, but if I
make a howlingly funny blunder in my e-mail, and it gets passed on (without
personal attribution, of course),I would probably feel both embarassed AND
honored. And, after the initial sting, only honored.
 
Third, the mistakes that our students make can be VERY instructive; they show
us when and in what way our teaching has gone awry. As such, these compilations
are a charming way for us to learn what works in the classroom and what
doesn't.
 
I would suggest that those who feel we have violated our poor students by
sharing their miscues to relax a little. No one has been harmed, many have been
amused, and some of us have learned something. I am much more concerned about
teachers who can't find any joy in teaching at all.
 
End of flame...
 
Michael E. Cohen
a.k.a. 
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gloria Wilson <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 May 1994 12:04:58 CST6
Subject: 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
I have thoroughly enjoyed the student bloopers. I have taught in both high
school and college settings for a number of years and I have the greatest
respect for both the novice writer/reader and the teacher.  It takes somewhat
of a scholar to appreciate the humor in such bloopers, and it is more of an
intellectual chuckle between oneself and other professionals who appreciate the
subject matter than a reproach to the student.  I remember such instances of my
own students' writing with fondness for both the occasion and the student.
 
GLORIA R. WILSON

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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Lawrence Lyle <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 May 1994 13:24:58 -0400
Subject: 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0397  Re: New Shakespearean Knowledge
 
We all know people who recount their students' failures with a bit too much
glee:  whether they do so because they enjoy feeling superior or because they
need to mask insecurity resulting from failure to teach as well as they like,
it's disturbing.  The several people who point this out are quite right to do
so.
 
But let's not get carried away.  If a student spells "throne" "thrown," it's
amusing.  It's sad, of course, and we should all work as hard as we possibly
can to correct this sort of thing, and we should all remember that someone
somewhere along the line has done the student a very grave disservice.  While
we cannot forget our responsibility, nor can we make ourselves eternal martyrs.
 "In this scene, Hal reveals his manhood to Falstaff." Ha!
 
Jay Lyle

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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <GODSHAWL@UCBEH>
Date:           Thursday, 05 May 1994 13:50:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Laughter
 
Laughter at willful ignorance is not inappropriate. Most of us are talking
about university or college students, students who have the ability to read, to
study, to remember. As a teacher, I do my best to encourage my students to do
all three. I give them study guides. I give them quizzes that lead to revelant
class discussions. I have them write short papers every other week, and so on.
If my students refuse to read carefully and study the material, it is not my
fault. Students must ultimately be responsible for their own education. But we
teachers invest a lot of our energy, time -- you name it -- in the process,
and, when our students don't do the work, don't learn the material, we are
hurt. We are hurt because our students are negligent. And so some of us turn to
satire. I assume that we do not personally satirize our students. There is
nothing wrong in the general satire of willful ignorance.
 
Now, what about our own bloopers? Bernice warns us to humility. (I remember
with blushes when I forgot that Aragon is in Spain!) Of course, our pride is
not above satire, is it? How many satires of academic life are available in the
local library? I won't venture to guess.
 
Reverence is not my bag.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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