9 sept. 2009
On Wed of last week I didn't announce the reading assignment, but it was in the syllabus, listed for 9/9/9 under the name of the author and the title of the article. The article is included in the only textbook that the students bought for the course, The Translation Studies Reader. Today, the next class after that (since we had no class on Monday for labor day), only one student had found and read the article. This is the first article we were reading from this volume, so the students did not make the connection that this was the reading assignment for today. Nobody sent me an email over the break to ask what the assignment was going to be, or where the article was to be found. Few even had the book with them in class. I had a dialogue with the one student (out of 17 present in class) to do the assignment, gave a mini-lecture, and guided the discussion toward more general points that could be discussed without having read the assignment. I got through the 75-minute class somehow and I think it actually was a fairly good one--which means it would have been great with a group of prepared students. I learned two things: I can teach a good class under less than ideal conditions, and you have to be very explicit with this group of undergraduates, to the point of painfully explicit over-obviousness. If there is an assignment due, you have to announce it. You have to tell them explicitly what to do even if it is obvious. You should say: "Read Annie Brisset's article on page 3XX in The Translation Studies Reader and come prepared to discuss it." It didn't seem productive to go RYS on them and send them home, even though I had a sore throat. It's a funny group that way--we can have a decent discussion even if they aren't prepared in the least, but they aren't particularly resourceful about figuring things out. We'll see how exercise 2 goes on Monday.