Teachers as Serial Killers

This title is unabashedly stolen from Britt Watwood’s blog post and follow-up discussions. In this post, Watwood unpacks a common challenge of class discussion: the serial monologue. He quotes our colleague Jeff Nugent who eloquently captured the challenge stating “that after a decade of asynchronous discussions, the standard in most online classes was ‘monologues masquerading as dialogues.'” I believe the same challenge is present in face-to-face classroom discussions. It’s pervasive.

The goal of this page is to begin to outline a series of approaches/methods/strategies/practices/routines that can be used to confront and alter the serial monologue. In this sense, the teacher is a serial monologue killer. Our goal is to provide students with the opportunities to critically and empathetically enter into other perspectives: to accurately articulate what their peers say; to generate questions that probe the meaning and implications of what their peers say – fairly; to enter into their peers’ perspectives to imagine alternative possibilities; to show respect by taking what their peers say seriously.

A tall order? Sure. But… I believe in finding ways. To quote the tag line on Gardner Campbell’s blog: Aut inveniam, aut faciam! (I shall either find a way, or make one).

The Goal: To collectively create a collection of approaches that instructors can use to address the problem of the serial monologue in online classes. Please contribute.


3 thoughts on “Teachers as Serial Killers

  1. Hi Enoch :),
    First :What a title but I think a fitting one.
    Second: I would love to contribute, if I can or if I have something that can be useful. What I’ll do is go though what you’ve already done and then get back to you with a comments, suggestions etc.
    I am not part of the mainstream education. I am a mainly a corporate trainer and I usually design my own courses but have also benefited a lot from working with courses designed by colleagues or by other consultants in the field.

    By the way, I came across your blog while going through the list on the Connected Courses, looking for other participants to respond to and connect with.

    1. Hello Maha.
      I think similar principles and approaches apply to business as they do to education. Not the same, but similar. As I replied to Laura Gibbs, I begin with the premise that we are all humans and out thinking is fundamentally similar. I’ve done quite a bit of consulting with various groups usually centered around critical thinking, but at the core is crafting experiences that help people make intuitive and deep connections with the key ideas whatever they may be.
      Thanks for connecting!

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