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Course Notes 10/19/10

tgarber's picture

Today in class, we revisited various Serendip posts regarding the progress of the class: what has been working and not working so far in the course. 

1. The majority of the class feels that the classroom discussions turn into debates because of a lack of understanding and clarity. In order to get a better understanding of a classmate's opinion, we need to ask questions. It will not only clarify the opinion for the classmate expressing her opinion, but for other students as well. 

2. If a particular discussion seems to occupy a majority of class time and most students want to move to another topic, students who want to promote discussion should use Serendip as a place to further discuss ideas. 

We separated into groups of 4 and discussed various words that we looked up in several dictionaries. 

Students found that lots of words come from Latin roots that complicate or affect their meaning, which brought the questions, "Do the original meaning of Latin root words affect your contemporary understanding of words?" and "Can you get to a true sense of a word?"

A student expressed that words are open for interpretation and dictionaries are reference points that record historical connotations of words. 

"An etymology is a narrative and foundational notion"- it helps compare usage of words in the past to explore their "true" meanings in contemporary society. 

We also briefly discussed the difference between an explanation and a definition. "Do dictionaries define or explain words?"


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