Week Two in the Can

Last year I wrote about a couple of my classes and the types of interactive teaching I attempted with the students. I will continue to do that with this semester’s classes, which include History of Western Art I and the Nineteenth-Century Art course.

I’m also teaching a First Year Seminar, which uses the Reacting to the Past pedagogy (www.barnard.edu/reacting) and of course most of you have heard me go on and on about *that*! But it really does *work*. Today was awesome. Twenty-first century students quoting Frederick Douglas, Calhoun, and Hammond’s essay “Cotton is King”? It was great.

All of my planning for my courses center on engagement. How can I engage them in the material? Sometimes I have to lecture to get basic ideas across. But then I want them living and thinking and breathing art. To engage with it deeper. In 19C they were in groups of four and had a portrait to discuss and present. They had to “read it” visually, and then they had to present it, after I gave them some profile facts about their “person.” This worked so much better than if I lectured on those five paintings. Took up more time – but they will remember it more.

This week was a good one. And I’m looking forward to more.


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