Table for one

Interestingly, much like my own office. Different dynamic, though

I’d like to pretend that the situation I’m about to describe is the result of some very careful planning, but I’ll assume that you all know enough about how universities work these days to know that it very much isn’t the case. Whatever the reason, when semester starts in a fortnight, I’m going to be teaching a module/course to a single student.

I’ve met my class earlier in the year and he seems very pleasant, so I’m sure it’ll be a great experience. But it’ll also be a brand new experience: that Oxbridge post that I never quite managed to secure, perhaps.
Of course, I’m prepping for this, because I won’t be able to use a lot of the tools in my pedagogic kit. No ‘discuss in pairs’, no simulations (not of the kind I run, in any case), not even flipping, since every single bit of face-to-face contact will be individually tailored to the one person.

To add to the fun, we’ll be having the classes in my office, since everyone (including me) agreed it was stupid to tie up a standard teaching room. So now I suddenly have my shelves of relevant literature literally to hand.

My approach is going to be student-led here. There are weekly readings and I’m going to take those as my old-fashioned take on flipping, given that the student will have no one else to discuss them with.

On top of that, there’s going to be a lot of discussion and debate, back and forth. We have enough time that we can dig deep into particular points and explore how they connect together. I’m also toying with makign use of improvised activities, as and when particular sticking points arise: for example, getting the student to produce something on the spot to visual their understanding.

But mostly, I’ll be taking a ‘suck it and see’ position, certainly in the first weeks. Until we have found our groove, it strikes me as foolish to settle on a fixed plan. As ever, if you’ve got ideas, then chuck them my way, and likewise I’ll report back on my progress.

One Reply to “Table for one”

  1. If your class touches on comparative politics, globalization, or Asia, let me know and perhaps we can briefly connect him to one of my classes here — some kind of virtual participation.

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