I must admit I am always a bit apprehensive as to how the first class discussion will always turn out. How prepared are the students? Do they understand the topic or at least the basics? Will more than the same two or three people talk? Will they think? Will they participate and share their ideas, thoughts, and arguments? What have they learned? Overall, I believe the discussions turned out well. Students from all three classes were engaged, interesting points and arguments were presented, and there seemed to be a constant discussion. It was a positive experience, and I am excited to read the reflections in the coming days. Although there were many excellent arguments and quality points, there were a few students in every class that were well prepared, participated in the conversation with excellent and original arguments, and it was evident that they had done some outside work (ie. blogging). I will award those in class on Monday.
I know many of you were unfamiliar with this type of class setting. It's not often that you have the chance to sit and talk about current issues with your peers. I know some of you are shy and will have to really challenge yourself to make yourself be heard. Talking in front of your peers is a necessary skill that you will all need to learn. I guarantee you will use it at some point in your future. The way I see it, your failure to share your ideas, thoughts, and arguments is cheating the entire class. Who knows, your statement could be the most brilliant and original argument every made about the topic of discussion. But we will never know because you decided to hold onto that gem of knowledge for yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. This confidence starts with being prepared. Do your homework, read on your own, blog!!!, and come to these discussions with a sense of confidence that no matter what direction the discussion goes, you will have something to contribute.
In lieu of the upcoming Super Bowl next weekend, I will leave you with a quote from the great Vince Lombardi:
"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
Have a great weekend, carpe diem.