Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update on Current Poll

We're up to 30 votes in my current poll on professors and politics now. I think the overall results have pretty much stabilized. Does any one have any final comments on this discussion? Would anyone like to suggest a new poll question? I would be happy to consider it...



Blogger Peter Carey said...

I think that a level of transparency about where one stands can be helpful at some point in a class. However, it seems that good pedagogy would also mean that a professor would be able and willing to take the "con" side in a debate or discussion in order to go deep in a discussion. I know that as a teacher I found it helpful and interesting to take the "devil's advocate" position at times, when my students were mostly lining up on one side of an issue - even if I mostly agreed with the majority. I find the example that Steve mentioned where a teacher required students to read opinions from only one side of an issue to be apalling and bad teaching practice ... students were right to complain and protest that action.

I have been in classes where teachers do not reveal their opinions in an open and transparent way, and then the opinions seep out and affect the way they grade and the way they interact with the class. I would rather have a strong level of transparency, but also a level of humility and dispossession ("kenosis"?) about their own position.

To name names, Tim Sedgwick, ethics and theology professor at VTS is an excellent professor who is able to honor and respect all sides of a discussion and who may offer his "take" on things, but does not try to foist his opinion on others! (there are other great professors around who do this as well.)

Sat Oct 21, 03:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Thanks, Peter. Bracketing the specific issue of U.S. election politics, I would have to agree with the thrust of what you say. I had a fine professor once who made the following deal with us students. He would be clear about where he stood on this or that theological argument, as long as we were clear that we could disagree with him and argue our own convictions. It worked well in that class. ---S.

Sun Oct 22, 05:57:00 AM GMT-5  

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