It was good to be sitting at my office desk at school today. Spring semester classes don’t begin until Wednesday, and I had an unusually large amount of uninterrupted time to clean the office, organize materials,discard last semester’s uneaten lunch, and think about my three courses. Precious moments of uninterrupted, focused reflection, planning, and action are rare for me once classes begin, because I choose to have an open door policy for students and colleagues.
I’m teaching Introductory Psychology (after a one semester hiatus) for probably close to the 100th time. I taught it as a graduate student at Ohio State and I have taught here at Carroll a number of summers and evenings in addition to almost every semester since February of 1978. Indeed, this coming semester I shall yet again be teaching a daughter of one of my former students. In some ways Introductory Psychology is the most difficult course for me to teach. Most students are not majors, and it is a challenge to simply and with integrity condense a discipline I have explored for for almost forty years.
This semester, influenced by some conversations I’ve had with several colleagues and students, I am going to incorporate several innovations.
- a section on cross-cultural psychology which will occur at the time that social psychologist Richard Nisbett is speaking on campus about the “Geography of the Mind” (see my earlier blog).
- having students read and respond to some of my future (and some of my older “Curious David”) blogs that deal with psychological topics. I may create a special wiki for them.
- involving students in some fashion with research I shall be conducting with 12 seniors. I am toying with five research topics—the effects of color on behavior, revisiting the “Mozart effect,” revisiting “subliminal” persuasion, evaluation research (e.g. the efficacy of Rosetta Stone software), and systematic evaluation of Web 2.0 learning tools. As the President of this institution is fond of saying, “stay tuned.”
Carroll truly is being enriched more and more by the presence of international students. Today, while photo-copying, I struck up a conversation with a student from Brazil. Last semester I had the delightful experience of learning with and from a student from Vietnam. A former graduate school classmate of mine has just become an editor of a British journal. A Norwegian friend who mentored me in 1974 has just published a book. My discipline is finally becoming more culturally aware, much less chauvinistic—see Arnett, J. J. (2008). The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63, 602-614— and recognizing that the world is indeed flat. How exciting; what fun!
There is much about which to be curious.That is vital to keeping me playful, energized, and wanting to teach and to learn.
Thanks to my incipient readership. Based on statistics I can monitor, I am already attracting a readership base at a higher rate than I did writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year. And this without Mom’s help!
Keep those comments and feedback coming either through posting or by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough for now. I’m dog tired.
On the Internet no one knows that you are a Newf