Tuesday, December 14, 2010

List Compulsion

Apparently, list-making is not always a bad thing.

This is tremendous news for someone like me who makes lists all the time. Umberto Eco gave a nice interview a while back on the subject: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,659577,00.html

In many ways my curriculum building acts as a means of list arrangement. Planning out my courses ahead of time and what I'll do on which days gives listing a practical outlet. Which historical events are most important, and in what order should I cover them to facilitate clarity?

I have to pick an extra-curricular to guide or teach when I get to Singapore. Last year it was comedy improv. I'm not sure this will go over well, so I'm scratching my head, and making lists, of possible alternatives:

Cooking. I love cooking, and haven't had a chance to use my skills in a long time. I imagine a class where every few weeks students are challenged to recreate dishes I set before them with the specific knowledge of the previous lessons. The problem is that too many cooks in the kitchen can be awful, and costs are high. Not to mention the need for facilities.

World Cinema. A chronological tour through cinema history and world differences. Highlights would include early German and Soviet films, French new wave, classic Indian and Japanese noir, and contemporary Chinese and Latin American works. Possible problem: censorship of media/unavailability of certain landmark films.

Art History. Every year I cover the basics with my students: Rembrandt, Greek red and black ware, Raphael, Picasso, etc. Honestly, though, the basics are pretty much what I've got, and while I usually spend one day on Chinese Art of the Song Dynasty, I can't claim to have much knowledge of world art. Students might not be interested in a class focused solely on Western art.

Western Philosophy. Much of the bulk of Eastern Philosophy is going to be taught in my history classes anyway, as national requirements have it. Perhaps there is some interest in philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the 20th century? The problem here becomes one of exclusivity - only some students can handle the material. Philosophy, past the Greeks, is best left to students 16/17 or older.

American Music of the 20th Century. Now I'm reaching. Covering music and styles from ragtime to 90's pop, with blues, jazz, rock, r&b, hip hop, and show tunes. I'd probably have interested students for this one. But I'm not sure if this is a 'legit' enough offering from a school's point of view...

Epic Literature. Anyone want to read Moby Dick?

Geopol. Each week students learn about critical geopolitical countries and their...stuff.

Book Club. We...read books?

I guess I'll have to wait and see what things are like at the school I'm working at.

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