Is It Better To Fly Blind Or Naked?

This semester I’m teaching a course on globalization; it’s the first time such a course has been offered at my university. I wasn’t too keen on trying to come up with a semester’s worth of lecture notes on the course’s topic over my winter break. So I decided simply not to lecture. No lecture, no lecture prep.

I had heard of the “teach naked” phenomenon whereby instructors avoid use of modern technology in the classroom, but I had never experienced going into a semester completely blind to what might be said in class on any given day. So far it’s been enlightening, scary, and fun, all at the same time.

My initial worry was “how am I going to fill up 75 minutes of class without any formal presentation of previously-organized information?” My basic pedagogical philosophy is read-read-read, write-write-write, so I knew — as I do in all my other courses — that some class time could be occupied with discussion of the reading. But it took quite a leap of faith to stand back and actually explore ideas that come from the readings as part of an extended conversation. I’m noticing that by not lecturing I more frequently get to point out broader implications of what students are saying, and, so far at least, the students are attentive and engaged.

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