Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Class Dynamics

Yesterday I posted about possible ways to get students involved in class conversations. Today, I was thinking about the dynamics tat make up a class. A few semesters ago, I had two classes. One of the classes had 22 students. It met on Tuesdays and Thursdays for One hour and 20 minutes. The other class met once a week, on Fridays. It was a three hour class (from 12:30-3:30) and no other classes started later than 3:30 on Friday afternoons and most other classes had already come to an end. That means that my class was the only thing preventing students from starting the weekend. This class had a total of six students. How a class with only six students actually went is a story for a different day.

Now, if you think about the two classes, the one you would think would have livelier discussions (at least the one I would have thought) would have been the Tuesday, Thursday class. The class is for less time and there are more students. In addition, the Friday class would already be thinking about the weekend and waiting for me to stop talking so they could leave. Still, this is not what happened.

The Friday class probably could be a case study in small group communications. Everyone felt a part of the class. They liked the discussions and participated. They knew there were not many students in the class so they would have to hold up their end of the class by speaking. Also, with fewer students in class, students were less intimated and less self conscious as they felt they were only be judged by a handful of people.

It was an interesting and fun class. It taught me to expect the unexpected and not to make certain assumptions about teaching. Still, every class has its own personality and it takes time to learn the personality.