(or, who wants to start a book club?)
a digression into learning models
as a teacher, i've had occasions, both beautifully fluid and rich and horrendous-train-wrecky-unsuccessful, to sit in the driver's seat of dialog. in an ideal learning setting, i'm not pouring wisdom into empty vessel minds from a podium--I'm not the dangerously short piece of chalk tap-tap-tap-SQUEEEEL-tapping on blank slate intellects. i've had my fair share of professors who DID do this: the chaucer teacher who started speaking at 8:01 and stopped at 8:49, mocking the terrified students who bothered to speak up. the shakespeare "scholar" who droned for 50 minutes with closed eyes, making the class feel like we were an afterthought--spies watching in secret. old school colonial education at its finest.
i'm much more a fan of what's called the "adult learning model" of education. it functions in a "three passes" approach and on a couple of very important suppositions that work to break old hierarchical modes of learning into more egalitarian, dialogic encounters with information. first, it requires the active choice of a learner to engage--essentially, it requires consent, the kind that's expressed when someone chooses to enroll in a program or a class, thus differentiating it (in one of many ways) from modern american K-12 learning. then, it requires that students, out of a desire to learn or to m