Teaching Using Personal Experiences
I enjoy it when my teachers use personal experiences to illustrate a topic we’re discussing in class. Their personal experience gives the subject matter relevance to real life, helps to create a visual image in my head, which I'm more likely to remember than facts from a textbook, and helps me to get to know my teacher. I especially appreciated when my creative writing teachers talked about their writing process or how they dealt with self-doubt and writer’s block.
I would also like to use pieces of my personal experience in the classroom, and I sometimes do. I tell my students about my personal writing process, some things about writing that I find challenging and how to overcome them. Several students have told me this is helpful for them.
I'd like to take this a step further and share pieces of my own writing with my composition class, but I'm afraid they’ll think I'm being conceited. I feel very hesitant to stand in front of my class and talk about myself because of this fear, even though I've never thought my teachers were conceited for talking about themselves in class. Some teachers, though, talk about themselves in a way that's off topic for class, and it feels like wasted time. I don't want students to feel like I'm wasting their time.
Karen Wink talks about reading directly from her travel journal to her students, and sharing photographs from her trip. I would like to do something like this if it’s interesting to my students, but it would have to presented in a very specific way so it doesn’t come off sounding self-gratuitous.
|photo by jannoon028|
World Literature Tourism?
Wouldn’t designing your world literature class like a journey (as Raquel Cook describes in her article) be too similar to the “tourist” approach to teaching diversity and culture that we should avoid? I know this whole article is about the success of her World Literature class, but I don’t understand what she did differently to prevent it from being a tourist experience.