Closer to the Heart

I “Heart” Education

So perhaps I keep coming back to this same theme about relationships in education and that relates to (finally) getting around to changing the title of my blog to #ConnectingIsLearning.  If you don’t want to read about passion for education, move on to another blog or post.

flickr photo by Roberta Baker https://flickr.com/photos/robertabaker/9231071375 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
flickr photo by Roberta Baker https://flickr.com/photos/robertabaker/9231071375 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

First Week

I have a few routines that I have developed over the years for my first week of classes. I really try to avoid the “here is the syllabus, let me go over it with you”; that is just so amazingly boring and the worst way to start a year off.

A new idea I came up with for this start of the semester was to have my students write about themselves and then share that with other students in the class. Why do I do this? It allows them to think about “why am I here” (I teach mostly early semester students) and putting the words onto a 3 inch by 5 inch index card makes that concrete.

My son Adrián did his part of creating pairs of cards with stickers on each one. I handed out the cards and asked for the following information:

  • Name (and how you like to be referred to)
  • Student number (yeah, not great but they need to start memorizing it)
  • What degree are you studying?
  • Why did you choose to study this degree?
    For my upper year students I asked “what is next after graduating?”

Next I asked them to write on the back a “Tweet Size” description of themselves, in essence a “Who Are You”.  I always love an excuse to put themed music on in the background during class:

Then I asked the students to get up, find the matching sticker of another student and exchange cards.  At the end of the class I collected them.

Here is a sample, yes I did ask for permission to show those that are visible. Thanks and a nod to those students.

flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/29189939821 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license
flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/29189939821 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Yes: More Heart, More Love

For me, education is about relationships and building those with my students as well as encouraging them to find their relationships (Personal Learning Network).  That is probably the essence of my pedagogy and I’m fortunate to have found that core value.

Just before the semester started I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Bonni Stachowiak (@bonni208 on Twitter) for episode 114 of her Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, I welcome you to listen that titled “Engage the Heart and Mind Through the Connected Classroom” (about 36 minutes).

flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/29234539316 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license
flickr photo by kenbauer https://flickr.com/photos/ken_bauer/29234539316 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

I Thought This was about Rush?

Yes, today is Alex Lifeson’s birthday and “Closer to the Heart” is one of my favourite songs. Perhaps I am seeking Xanadu and not just for more love in education.

So I will leave this here and I welcome your comments below.

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