25 October 2009

teaching again

i am scheduled to teach during interim at Calvin College this coming january. it will be the third time i'm teaching DCM. the class is an introduction to the Reformed faith alongside a topic of my choice. i have chosen the topic of hermeneutics: looking at how we interpret the message and more specifically how the presentation of the message and how our backgrounds, personalities, and situations all affect our understanding of the message. i'll draw on my own experiences and thinking and cover a variety of aspects - like teaching and learning, sociology, biblical stuff and faith, cross-culture experiences, technology, statistics, marketing, and so on. i'm also drawing on the previous topics i've done - 1) postmodernism - as it focuses so much on the presentation of the message and how truth is different for each of us - and 2) community - as this is one of the most significant aspects of my life now - and i've discovered that this is one of things one has to experience to understand, so i'm looking forward to challenging the class with how one can present and understand the "message" of community. that, and the book related i've found related to community (Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution) makes a good secondary class textbook.

i've picked up the required text again and started jotting down more ideas of what to do in the text - and i am on the lookout for ideas amongst the things i now read. and i've been generally enjoying that, although since i bumped into some of the difficulties of teaching last time i was around Calvin (especially with how i felt that there were problems in the presentation and understanding of the message i had wanted the students to learn), i'm a bit more nervous and cautious towards teaching again. [this cautious part can be seen in that, although i've known for a couple of months that i'd be teaching, i'm only now mentioning it here.

and yet i was reminded again that as much as i'm feeling a bit cautious about all of this, i am very much looking forward to teaching. while my sister was visiting we talked about the class and we talked a bit about how marketing presents a certain message (she has a degree in marketing and works in marketing for RIM, the blackberry company - she's definitely my expert when it comes to this). and when we'd been talking a bit, she asked me if i realized that i was talking really loud all of a sudden. i hadn't realized it - and felt rather surprised and embarassed. but then she said, it just means that you must be really excited about this. and i thought, yeah, she's right. deep down i am really excited about teaching again - and even if i can't be certain that a certain class will be great or that the message will be understood well, i really do love teaching - and i am really looking forward to bouncing around ideas with students and challenging them and trying out new ways of teaching.


br Luc said...

Intresting subject, the hermeneutics in combination with thinking about community, that is. Will you also look into the notion that meaning can only be determined within a community of readers? (I think it is Ricoeur who comes with this idea, but could be that others play with the same.) That would give you a link from hermeneutics to community.

br Luc

Brenda said...

thanks! i like the idea of exploring further the concept of a community of readers as part of understanding the message - and it does make a good bridge between the main topic and community.