Monday, August 2, 2010

Teach to Learn/Learn to Teach

I have been working on my seventh and eight grade lesson plans this week, and besides all the boring Spanish grammar and workbook stuff, I decided to incorporate some experimental philosophy ideas such as:

Total installations: Immersing students in a sensory experience with objects/subjects. Re-arranging the things in the room. Making students match the Spanish word uttered to the object/subject in a language and reference game. Becoming aware of how important embodiment is in the acquisition of knowledge.

Undoing gender in the classroom (this might not work because it is an orthodox Jewish school): We pick a group of Spanish concepts that stand as universal signifiers for each gender and, through five minute performances we give examples of how we can undo gender (a drag show is not allowed though). We look at Latin American artists who present us with examples of undoing gender (such as Fridha Kahlo. And, no, we are not going to look at Lady Gaga.)

Escaping monologues and leaning towards dialogue, a Hegelian Experience: An example of communicative rationality, in Spanish. One student writes a simple monologue in Spanish and hands it over. The other student includes herself in the monologue of the other by re-writing it using sentences in the first and third person. The result is the Hegelian uniting of consciousness with self-consciousness between two students. They read it out loud to the class. We first study the spanish words, then become aware of the self/other dialectic. The goal is to understand how much we gain when we escape self-consciousness: when the other is included in our initial monologue and there is space for dialogue.

Creating your own Mexican Soap Opera movie script.(It cannot be based on your life though, or the lives of your family members.)

Forgetting to sit

Reading the Spanish textbook while walking (this might not work in winter).

Learning Spanish colors and shapes at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.

Wearing costumes to teach a certain historical period.

Learning while making (Mexican wrestling masks, ten minute short films in Spanish, short movie scripts in Spanish).