28 sept. 2009

I'm going to give my anonymous poetry course next semester again, focused on the three genres of romance, the refrán, and the canción. Of these the canción or song is the most diffuse in it definition and will come last. The romance or "ballad" will begin the course, followed by the refrán or proverb.

I made several mistakes last time: I had students read the Celestina as an example of how the refrán was used within a literary work. The problem is I didn't allot time to properly teach the Celestina, a semi-difficult and longish late medieval work, so that was largely a waste. Secondly, I over-emphasized flamenco and too many students attempted to do exactly the same kind of paper. I didn't give enough guidance on choosing paper topics. Even though this is a senior class and everyone taking it is graduating with a major in Spanish, they can't really come up with a research project. I badly handled a few C students. I had the students give presentations, and, given the similarities among topics, these presentations were repetitive.

Students in my courses often don't know what to do with what I give them. That is a key problem in my teaching. I have a hard time telling people what to do in the first place, but undergraduate students need very firm guidelines. I need super-rigid assignments that bad students can do adequately and good students can excel at.