Thursday, April 27, 2006

how many of your students are doing the reading?

over a fine dinner with jeff draine and irene wong, i asked whether their penn students did all of the reading assigned for coursework. jeff replied that he doubted it, but quickly noted that his inside-out students indeed do all the reading.

jeff teaches in the inside-out prison exchange program, which takes university undergrads behind prison walls to attend class with inmates. in jeff's experience, the "inside" or incarcerated students often lead the way. this sets a high bar for preparation and participation that can motivate the "outside" students to work a little more diligently than they otherwise would.

i could envision such a pattern holding for my minnversity undergrads as well. if they heard inmates critiquing code of the streets, for example, they'd be more likely to dig into it to form their own opinions (especially if the critique somehow challenged ol' doc uggen's reading of the text). my pubcrim colleague michelle took the inside-out training program last summer, so i'm looking forward to some firsthand blogging on her experiences teaching in the program next year.

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