My last post was one of those. If you have not read my post entitled "Reading for Class," please do, and please read the comments. It started out as an observation by me about how some students respond when called on, and from there--well, a lot of people had a lot to say. Which is absolutely great. Thanks to all who have commented.
Some of the comments addressed the pros and cons of how professors call on people in class. Different professors of course do it different ways. There is no one right way, but I suppose there are a number of wrong ways. So does anyone have any thoughts? Some points I'd like to see comments on are as follows (feel free to add others as you see fit):
- Is it better to know that you are going to be called on in a particular class, or is a random method preferable?
- Do you like the Socratic Method? Or, for that matter, do you really understand what it is? And if so, do you buy into learning from each other's comments and student-professor discussions in class? Why or why not?
- What method of class participation or in-class commentary is your favorite? (Or perhaps more accurately stated, which method do you least dislike?)
- Should class participation count toward your final grade?
- Does it matter if everyone is called on in class?
- Once you are called on, should you be off the hook for the rest of the semester?
- What do you think of "group projects" or "group presentations" in class?
I am looking for a general sense of what law students across the country might think about the subject of class participation, especially now that the nation's 1L students have nearly a full semester under their belts. This is helpful--helps me keep my finger on the pulse, and all that. Teaching a law school class is not a popularity contest, so the point is not that law profs always should do whatever students like. But profs who do not have a sense of where their students are coming from risk losing touch with their students. And when that happens, it's really sad, both for the students and the profs. Both lose in the bargain.
So please let me know what you think. And thanks for reading.