Friday, December 13, 2013

On Staying Awake in Class

Pedagogy Unbound  is "A place for college teachers to share practical strategies for today's classrooms."

Their blog today contains a lovely piece by David Gooblar, titled " 'Trucker Tricks' for Keeping Students Awake". Not that any of you would have such problems on either side of the rostrum in econometrics classes, I'm sure!

David writes:
"Of all the tips that have been posted at Pedagogy Unbound since the site’s launch in August, the one that has been read the most—by far—is titled “Help your students stay awake in class.” This, it seems, is what professors are most concerned about. Not student writing. Not the plague of plagiarism. Not even students who don’t participate in discussions. No, the most pressing problem facing college teachers today is merely getting their students to stay conscious for an hour and 15 minutes.
.......The tip is one (from an associate professor who) worked as a truck driver when he was a college student and now, as a teacher, he passes on his “trucker tricks” for staying awake to his students. 
......Crucially, (he) follows up these tips by inviting the students, at any time during class throughout the term, to stand up if they feel like they are getting sleepy. They can take their notebooks and stand at the back or side of the classroom. He tells them he’d much prefer a class full of standing students to one full of sleeping, or even just drowsy, students. 
.......So ask your students to stand up if they feel they are in danger of falling asleep. If it turns out that a number of them take you up on the offer, you can tell yourself that you’re getting a standing ovation." 
I'm going to try it out!

© 2013, David E. Giles

1 comment:

  1. I love this! Sadly, I would have done a much better job at staying awake in school if I had known then to stay away from caffeine. I invariably drank too much soda with dinner (and no one stopped me) and never could go to sleep at a proper hour when I was growing up. This was exacerbated by the desperate need to take a nap when I came home from school each day after having fallen asleep in quite a few of my classes. I really wonder sometimes what life would have been like if someone had taken away the caffeine. I don't have any at all now as an adult. But I can still fall asleep anytime and anywhere. Next time I feel it coming on, I will give a standing ovation!!

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