The More Things Change . . .

The 2022 TLC @ APSA is in the can, to use an early 20th century metaphor about a now-obsolete analog technology. Because of the pandemic, I had not attended an in-person conference since the Albuquerque TLC in February 2020. I was hoping for something new and perhaps revitalizing after the hiatus.

I got something new, but not in a good way.

Welcome,
conference attendee

No one wants to sit through a 15 minute recitation of comments from student evaluations, especially when those comments are simultaneously displayed on a projector screen as part of a 45 minute presentation that was actually supposed to run for only 20 minutes. In our work as teachers, we hold students to certain standards and demonstrate how they can meet those standards. This was a numbing example of “do as I say not as I do” that ran completely counter to effective pedagogical practice. It was also disrespectful to the audience and other panelists.

The problem was compounded by a moderator who failed to properly execute the duties of the role, and not just by letting one presenter consume half of the session’s allotted time. The moderator incorrectly assumed that most of the presenters scheduled for the subsequent panel were absent. He unilaterally decided that people who no longer had time to present in the panel that was in session could do so in next one. He announced this decision more than an hour into the session, which prompted exclamations from the audience of “But I’m here and part of the next panel!” and “What’s going on?”

I contrast the above events with what I witnessed in Montreal’s Time Out Market while eating lunch earlier in the day: a clown making balloon animals for a cavernous room full of rapt children. He’s the one to learn from.

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