This last week was what would generally be considered “midterms” – we had a short essay due in Tutorial and an oral (conversation more than examination) in Seminar; as of Monday we’re going to be doing preceptorials rather than seminars. It’s almost too bad: I liked seminar quite a lot, and rather wish that there could be all three classes running at once. But I’m certainly glad we’re done with Marx: his definition of Man is that he’s a determinate species being! Good grief! p>
In any event, I’ve been enjoying the semester thus far; it would even be alright if we had more work, like a short paper every week, though I appreciate the simplicity of only four essays per semester, and no other “educational artifacts” at all. I guess in Greek class they have quizzes as well, and in math students do proofs on the board. I also appreciate the simplicity of class always consisting of an hour and fifteen or two hours of discussing whatever was in the reading, without any other “learning activities.” There’s something kind of elegant about the whole set up. I’m uncertain if or how this experience might help me to be a better teacher, for a similar reason to why I didn’t find Emile especially helpful – good and worthwhile, but not helpful in practice. I kind of wonder, though: is it possible to have something like a seminar in high school, however imperfectly? Even if we’d have to choose a four page short story, and read it out loud before talking about it? Perhaps, I’d have to see. The whole thing about the method they use here is that you have to be able to trust the students.