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On meeting elsewhere (and attending to the consequences!)

Anne Dalke's picture


As few years ago, a senior in "Ecological Imaginings" posted this comment on Serendip: Having class outside is not working for me. At first, I was excited to have class outside. I love being outside!  I’m realizing now that I should not mix school and outside.  Even though we’re physically outside of the classroom, the standards for our performance in discussions haven’t changed.  

I spent a lot of time on Wednesday in class wondering what the blue jay was squawking about, and what the red tailed hawk was hunting for, and why it got so quiet in the last 15 minutes of class. There were times when I had to look at my hands to keep them from picking at the grass and building log cabins with the twigs on the ground. All the while, I felt guilty for not paying attention the way I am supposed in class. If we’re expecting the same kind of attention to discussion as we do in other classes, then I think we should move inside. If we’re expecting something different from discussion in this class, then I think we need to go over the rules.

What do you think the "rules of engagement" should be for our meetings in alternative spaces? Are they implicit? Should we make them explicit? In order for us to work on these questions together, and to think more generally of the "effect of the environment" on our interactions with one another, each of you will do three things (but you only have to do them one-and-a-half times!).

The night before the date assigned to you below,
* check weatherunderground to confirm conditions,
* before midnight, send an e-mail telling us where we will meet and how to get there.
* after class, post a comment describing how you made your decision,
and also what you noticed about our behavior in your site--
especially about how we coped (or not) w/ the distractions of being there,
and the various other invitations of "outside."

[Phone #s to contact if you can't find the class site.]

How might we incorporate these reflections into our curriculum?
How might they evolve over the semester? Let's see....

T, 9/13:
Amanda--Harriton Family Cemetery
Th, 9/15:
Beatriz--TV Room in Pembroke East
T, 9/20: Cathy--London Room
Th, 9/22:
Francesca--Rock Common Room
T, 9/27:
Ginneh--Erdman Common Room
Th, 9/29: Han Bin--our classroom
T, 10/4: Irene-our classroom
Th, 10/6: Katarina--Quita Woodward Room
T, 10/18: Maia--Taft Garden
Th, 10/20: Melinda--our classroom
T, 10/25: class cancelled; afternoon field trip to Norris Square
Th, 10/27: Morine--our classroom
T, 11/1: Princess--second floor Common Room, New Dorm
Th, 11/3: Rachel--Pem west TV room
T, 11/8: meeting in our classroom w/ Jody's section
Th, 11/10: our classroom
T, 11/15: Toni: circle of chairs in front of English House
Th, 11/17: Cathy: Rhoads Common Room
T, 11/22: Francesca: Denbigh Common Room
T, 11/29: Amanda: Merion Common Room
Th, 12/1: Princess: Library in the Enid Cook Center
T, 12/6-Th 12/8: meeting in our classrooms w/ Jody's section