Friday, January 24, 2014

Magic in the Classroom


I don’t often write about my work (I’m a writing professor at the college nearby), but sometimes something so magical happens in class that I just have to share.

This morning was one of those moments.

I was introducing the idea of summary—what it is, how we use it in research, etc. I wanted to illustrate for the students that a summary isn’t always completely neutral—we choose the points that we think are important, which reflects our bias.

So I asked the students, “What’s your favorite T.V. show?”

Quickly, two students shouted, “Friends!”

Wait. Two of you chose a ‘90s sitcom? First of all, I think that’s strange. Second of all, “Friends”? Really?

(Apparently, according to my class, “Friends” is having a resurgence. I guess there’s no accounting for taste.)

Anyway, I asked one of the students, hoping to show the class how he would summarize the show thus reflecting what he thought was important about it, “Summarize ‘Friends’ for me. What is the show about?”

Without hesitating, he said, “Sex!”

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