http://www.dangoldberg.net/googlef0d66cc0ba5ccabc.html
 
There's something invigorating about challenging students to think and having them challenge you in return. Listening to them discuss topics you've introduced in class is what (to me anyway) teaching is all about.

What are their real thoughts (not something they're saying to placate me)...what gets their blood boiling, their energy flowing, their minds stimulated and excited? Perhaps it's something I said, maybe it's a topic in a book, or a point made by a classmate. Whatever it is...they're thinking...really thinking. Seeing them mentally dissecting, questioning, responding, and getting their opinions out is a thing of beauty.

Often they'll stop me as the class is leaving to continue the discussion or add a point that they may not have brought up in class. Sometimes they'll approach me on campus, or sit with me in the cafeteria or lounge area, to ask me my thoughts, tell me theirs, or just continue the dialogue. It's great! I love it.

Of course, not all of them feel comfortable speaking in public, approaching their professor, or challenging the beliefs of a classmate (or me). That's where their papers come in. I am awash in pages of opinions right now. Their writings are upon me...hundreds of pages waiting to be read. This is when the introverts speak, the extraverts expound, the opinionated reinforce, the contemplative express, and the shy can yell. Papers give me a bit more insight into who sits in those seats, watches my moves, listens to my words, raises their hands, laughs, speaks, texts, dozes, or saunters in after the start of class. They're people - with lives that are textured and families who love them. They all have their problems, joys and thoughts about life. Now is when I get some additional information about who they are.

It's more difficult to read papers, from a time and energy perspective, than it is to test. Tests can (although I don't normally hold to that structure - or at the very least...not completely) be generated by a CD sent to the professor by a textbook company and run through a "scantron." All without much effort (not counting, of course, all the energy expelled by teaching the subject you're testing about!).

Sometimes...a student will try to pull a "fast one" and give me a paper that they really didn't write. Perhaps a friend took may class a few semesters before and just happened to have a paper he or she wrote for me on the same topic tucked away in a file on his or her computer. But...unfortunately for my all my students - I have a, sort of, photographic memory when it comes to papers. They flash in front of my mind when one seems a bit too familiar or similar to one I've read before. Yes...I've caught a few folks who thought they'd "pull the wool over my eyes." But...I can see in the dark and they, to their dismay, found that out. However, that's only happened on very rare occasions - maybe two or three times - in all my years of professing.

Now it begins - I will "hear" the silent students speak and find out how those who aren't the "quiet ones" express themselves in the written word. It's always interesting, if not always grammatically correct.
Erica M.
3/29/2012 11:48:15 pm

It is so true that students who are not comfortable with speaking in class, really can express themselves in a paper. I am very opinionated about everything but I try not to debate too much in class because I do not always want to argue against someone's idea. I do not know if that person is shy and that they finally built-up enough courage to speak their idea in class, only to have it debated by me. Most of the time, everybones' ideas are insightful, and I do pay a lot of attention to what others are saying and think about how their idea would effect my idea.

So far, these assigned papers have been great. They are mostly opinionated, about personal experiences, that the class material backs-up. The papers have almost been a joy to write because usually, class papers are just about regurgitating the information with no personal ideas, preferences or situations.

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Erica M.
3/29/2012 11:50:53 pm

Sorry guys....1st paragraph, 5th line down...the word is everybody's NOT everybones'. I need an editor just to read my response!!!

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Pritesh Patel
3/30/2012 04:34:27 am

Your path towards enlightenment and the way you teach is very rare to me. While being in that state of mind that you are in and using it to know your students and help them to recognize their full potentials is of up-most inspirational. If all the professor and teachers teach this way, future can be very bright.

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Dan Goldberg
3/30/2012 07:46:39 am

Erica and Pritesh,

It's wonderful to read both of your comments. I'm glad that you're enjoying the papers Erica. And...you and Pritesh have given me additional knowledge about your thought processes and...your insights, ideas, and kind words are very much appreciated! understanding

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Pritesh Patel
3/31/2012 10:56:05 pm

While i was doing my due-diligence, I've found some compelling facts. I thought you can use it and viewers may like it in a bit easy format- <a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html">TED talks - Susan Cain: The power of introverts</a>.
I have concluded that if one can understand the difference between introverts and extroverts early on in his or her life, careers, or relationships, he or she can bring a joy in whatever he or she does. As, all you need, is to push yourself, or stimulate your energy in positive way to encourage yourself and others around you. This way, a positive environment can be maintained everywhere you go, and the progress in your life becomes very joyful.

You are genius Dan. I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences and passing your knowledge. Keep it on!

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Dan Goldberg
4/1/2012 01:35:26 am

Pritesh,

Thank you for sending me Susan Cain's speech! I just finished watching it and enjoyed every second of her presentation. Yes...you and Susan are correct in your statements about introverts and extraverts. We are all different, yet...all the same. And once we realize that, the joy of learning from each other becomes even more fulfilling. If we take the time to learn about ourselves and then learn about others (in a non-judgmental way)...the richness of interaction and door to knowledge opens much wider!

I appreciate both your kind words and your knowledge as well. You have given me more insights and have reinforced the fact that the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher. Thank you Pritesh!

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Thomas Morris
4/19/2012 03:54:47 am

I for one can admit that I do not voice my opinion as often as I'd like during class time. It really always has been my personality to be one of the quiet ones, but that doesn't mean us "quiet ones" are not paying attention, taking notes, and have our own opinions about the topics at hand. I can also acknowledge that papers are usually not my forte', but the papers we've been assigned in our Business Ethics course have been sort of a breath of fresh air. This is, as what Professor Goldberg stated, a way for the quiet students to unload their thoughts and perspectives on paper that most of us have been holding during class. I also agree with Erica regarding the topics we've written about during the semester. Usually it IS just reiterating information that we jotted down in our notes during class, but these papers have been a very creative way to provide insight on what we've learned in class along with letting the professor in on who we are as a person.

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Dan Goldberg
4/20/2012 06:18:37 am

Thomas,

Thank you for your comments, kind words, and insights into how the "quiet ones" can (and do) voice their thoughts and opinions. I'm glad to hear that you're using the papers from our class to express yourself and pass on your knowledge in a comfortable manner that suits your personality. It's much appreciated!

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