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Who Are You Wearing? Using the Red-Carpet Question Pedagogically
Unformatted Document Text:  Lecturing is a terrible way to learn, and not a much better way to teach. Yet most collegiate instructors use lecturing as a ‘necessary evil’ in the toolbox of teaching. I, too, am guilty of committing this sin, though I always try to do something other than ‘just’ lecture. This can include projecting notes as I go over the lecture, handing out additional material during class, or taking frequent interrogative breaks to discuss the material being covered. Still, this is a far cry from what is perceived to be a truly active, engaged, and productive learning environment. Accordingly, this paper recaps a more effective teaching module that I have implemented in class as a way of getting past the pure ‘lecture-based’ model of teaching that tends to predominate in university, and especially large-class, settings. The class in question enrolled approximately 80 students, was an upper-division course for political science and international relations majors, and was entitled “The Politics of Global Inequality”. However, the material would also easily be transferable to any undergraduate course on globalization, international political economy, development, or related topic. I. The Problem Compared to other courses I teach, it seemed that there was always a bit more student disengagement from the material when dealing with issues of global development. The relevance of the material, or the salience of the class, often appeared to be somewhat superficial for the students. For example, when teaching US Foreign Policy it is easy to see that students “get” the relevance and importance of the material in a much more personal way: they could be going to war, may have family or friends in 2

Authors: Carlson, Jon.
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Lecturing is a terrible way to learn, and not a much better way to teach. Yet most
collegiate instructors use lecturing as a ‘necessary evil’ in the toolbox of teaching. I, too,
am guilty of committing this sin, though I always try to do something other than ‘just’
lecture. This can include projecting notes as I go over the lecture, handing out additional
material during class, or taking frequent interrogative breaks to discuss the material being
covered. Still, this is a far cry from what is perceived to be a truly active, engaged, and
productive learning environment.
Accordingly, this paper recaps a more effective teaching module that I have
implemented in class as a way of getting past the pure ‘lecture-based’ model of teaching
that tends to predominate in university, and especially large-class, settings. The class in
question enrolled approximately 80 students, was an upper-division course for political
science and international relations majors, and was entitled “The Politics of Global
Inequality”. However, the material would also easily be transferable to any
undergraduate course on globalization, international political economy, development, or
related topic.
I. The Problem
Compared to other courses I teach, it seemed that there was always a bit more
student disengagement from the material when dealing with issues of global
development. The relevance of the material, or the salience of the class, often appeared
to be somewhat superficial for the students. For example, when teaching US Foreign
Policy it is easy to see that students “get” the relevance and importance of the material in
a much more personal way: they could be going to war, may have family or friends in
2


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