Friday, March 07, 2014


Spent the day grading papers. Well, avoiding grading papers (laundry, email, an exhibit on science and art) and then grading papers. It's grueling not because the papers are bad but because they're good, or could be good, and one wants to give helpful feedback. What I decided to do (these are the first papers for "Buddhism and Modern Thought," addressing the rather impossible prompt In what ways is Buddhism a modern Buddhist invention?) was send each student a paragraph by email, praising what they'd done and proposing ways they might deepen or extend (or clarify or unify) their arguments. In Monday's class there'll be a chance for each student to talk a little bit about her/his paper; I'm hoping, also, that everyone will venture a rewrite.

On reflection, this is good pedagogy - a good way of teaching essay writing - but I'd be lying if I said I'd planned it that way. In retrospect it seems very well thought out - like my conscientiously updated syllabus!

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