Mid-Semester Evaluations . . . Of You!

scantronWe’re barreling toward the end of the semester, which always feels closer once Thanksgiving’s over. As the Brits don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, I’m in the midst of doing mid-semester evaluations with students this week  A) To remind them that the semester really is more than half over and B) To try to suss out what is and isn’t working in our class.

Today at The Junto, we’d like to ask you, our readers, to reflect on your teaching so far this semester, and to encourage people to use the comments to share ideas and troubleshoot.

What are you teaching, and what’s working? Have you read any new books or articles that have gone over particularly well? Things you’ve read that you’re planning on teaching in the near future?

And what’s not working? Why do you think that’s the case, and what will you do next time to try to fix it?

We look forward to an engaging discussion. Have at it!

4 comments on “Mid-Semester Evaluations . . . Of You!

  1. raherrmann says:

    To start: I’m still working through leading class discussions, and have changed how I do it since the start of the semester. I have one section of 25 students, and was finding it very hard to get everyone to talk at least once during our 45-minute meeting. I’d assigned discussion leaders for each week, but even so, class got taken over by 5-6 (great!) but very talkative students. Now I start class by going around and asking each student to say something brief about the reading (~30 seconds) so I can redirect/ask specific people to comment.

  2. Benjamin Park says:

    I’ll try speak up over the roar of the comments.

    I’m enjoying the experience of supervisions here at Cambridge. It allows me to dig deeply into various texts with a small number of students. For instance, it has been a blast to have students compare and contrast the theses of Gordon Wood and Woody Holton on the Constitution. I’ve found UNRULY ORIGINS to really invoke debate and discussion.

    • raherrmann says:

      Can you explain a little more what you mean by supervisions? I’ve got undergraduate dissertation students, but they don’t start work on them ’til next semester.

      • Benjamin Park says:

        The Oxbridge system basically splits the classroom experience in two: students have lectures, where a professor, ahem, lectures in front of a large body of students, and then students also have supervisions, where they meet individually with the professor to decide reading and writing assignments.

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