From: Phil Fournier
Re: 518 teacher observation number 1
EVOC 518 Teacher Observation form
Scholar’s name: Phil Fournier
Name of Instructor Observed: ----------
Date and Place of observation: Nov. 30th,
Specific Examples of Effective teaching:
I observed professor ------- teaching his intro to Philosophy class. The idea here was to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, as I have recently learned that I have to take a Philosophy class for my BVE degree. So, since I was unable to find more than one automotive class to observe (being towards the end of the semester, all the automotive courses are doing lab work only) I decided on the philosophy class. I most enjoyed the professor’s sales pitch at the beginning of the class as he was trying to interest the class in his “Methods of Argument” course in the spring semester. Well, he certainly piqued my interest in the class as he took up a sample argument made by one of the contributors to his textbook. The argument was that file sharing (specifically, downloading music) though it is stealing, is a good thing because it is reforming a corrupt, overpriced, under-delivering, music cartel by teaching it that people will not tolerate a monopoly in America. I found the argument fascinating, though I’m not sure I agree with the premise. I found the subject of the day’s lesson less interesting. The instructor did not have a lesson plan, but given the subject, I wonder if one would have been appropriate. The teaching of the philosopher David Hume was being discussed. As I tried to put the subject into the context of “by the end of the lesson, the student will be able to….”, I came up at a dead end. I thought the professor used probing questions and effective use of the student’s names to try to draw out their thoughts, but to my mind the philosopher being discussed spoke such nonsense that there seemed little point to covering what he said anyway. I also noticed that the professor used good eye contact with the students and really seemed to be interested in their thoughts and perspectives.
Specific suggestions for Improvement: I found the professor spoke in a low voice. The students in the class were all young, so perhaps they had no trouble, but my old ears found him sometimes hard to follow. One other thing that troubled me, and I may have it out of context as the other students in the class seemed to find it very funny, but in the context of the discussion, the professor made a very disparaging remark about church-going. I was reminded in any case that instructors do need to be careful about causing needless offense to students with other beliefs and cultural outlooks than their own.