Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Recipe for a Perfect Class

I just had the lecture of my career in my Hispanic Civilization course. Even though the students are exhausted by end-of-semester assignments, final papers, tests, etc., the topic we discussed today elicited from them such a passionate response that I'm afraid our discussion was heard even outside the building. There is nothing more rewarding for an educator than to see students so interested in a topic that they are all talking at the same time, asking questions, interrupting each other in their haste to make their opinions known or clarify a difficult point. After the end of the class, I saw several of the students getting together to continue the discussion.

Do you want to know the secret of such enthusiasm on the part of the students? I have two words for you: Goldman Sachs. Today's subject was the economic problems of Latin American countries. We are reading Eduardo Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, and, of course, the subject of the IMF and its horrible policies came up. Some students are extremely knowledgeable on the subject, while other had never heard of the IMF or Goldman Sachs. As a result, we had a fantastic discussion where some people were brought almost to the point of tears by the IMF's atrocities.

I wish there were more of such lively class discussions. Unfortunately, I can't think of ways to make Goldman Sachs relevant to most of my material but I will definitely try.

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