18 Ways to Have Different Class (or Group) Discussions

The following outlines various techniques I use when teaching to enhance or change discussion-based activities. I’ll update it as necessary. I’ve had a number of students say they enjoy my classes in part because they never know what we’ll be doing that day!  1. Bring out the maps. Have students draw maps and discuss theirContinue reading “18 Ways to Have Different Class (or Group) Discussions”

Real Problems Under Cloaks of Success, or How Polk Elementary Handles Bullying

I attended Gladys Polk Elementary in Richwood, Texas, from August 1992 to May 1999. It was a huge part of my early life (and some bad memories, discussed here), and I continue to keep track of what is going on at Polk–thanks to the Internet. This past December, I read through its 2016-2017 Campus ImprovementContinue reading “Real Problems Under Cloaks of Success, or How Polk Elementary Handles Bullying”

Notes on: “Social Construction”

As I have written numerous times, and as my students can attest, I am a proponent of seeing everything as a social construction. Such a position is easily misunderstood. I often hear: what do you mean that so-and-so is a social construction. There are different ways to look at this, but at its core, social constructions are productsContinue reading “Notes on: “Social Construction””

The Constitution as a Religious Document? – Hidden Power of Words Series, #29

Scholars generally praise the Constitution of the United States (Bill of Rights included) because it does not mention a God or otherwise include Christianity.  Historians add that this is a further indication, in concert with other founding texts, that the Founding Fathers did not establish (or long for) a so-called Christian Nation. These men wereContinue reading “The Constitution as a Religious Document? – Hidden Power of Words Series, #29”

Lies are coded truths.

Politicians, preachers, and pupils sometimes make statements we deem lies. From the perspective of psychology and rhetoric, however, “lies” do not necessarily exist. Everything uttered speaks to manifestations of hopes and fears. For example, sometimes fellow professors complain when students “lie” about deceased relatives or computer problems, for example. But, as a colleague framed it,Continue reading “Lies are coded truths.”

Racism, History, and How To Get Away With Murder’s Bold Statement

On the most recent episode of How To Get Away With Murder, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) addresses the Supreme Court and says: ….Racism is built into the DNA of America. And as long as we turn a blind eye to the pain of those suffering under its oppression, we will never escape those origins. The only safeguard people of Color have isContinue reading “Racism, History, and How To Get Away With Murder’s Bold Statement”

Modern Life and the Problem of Memory

Several days ago, I was on the way to Houston to teach and suddenly had a fear that I had forgotten to put deodorant on that morning! (Luckily, I had put deodorant on, even though I never could retrieve that memory.) And this got me to thinking: We have a lot to remember each dayContinue reading “Modern Life and the Problem of Memory”