Day three started off slowly. I got into bed around 12:30pm after yesterday’s post and wok up at 9:00pm to check emails from students and catch up on correspondence. My house mate ran a half marathon (no I am not kidding). I had coffee and got ready for my afternoon field study. I changed my program for this afternoon due to my experience yesterday. I was curious about the instructor and how they would be in the field and if the preparation and energy demonstrated in class yesterday would be on show again.
A colleague from Notre Dame, IN and I attended the program with our local liaison. We met at the DIS office and walked across town to the Glyptoteket (museum of marble artifacts and associated exhibits) and met the tutor Bettina Sommer and their class on its steps. There were 20 female students (it seems like the majority of study abroad students are female) and none from yesterday’s class. The instructor was prepared and ready to go with a constrained and concentrated 75 minute showcase of Greek sculptural influence on Nordic sculptural interpretations and the inaccurate display of Nordic history and way of life nearly two thousand years later!
Bettina Sommer, led the group through the comparison of Greek and Nordic mythology through the use of sculpture. It was an opportunity to see an instructor in the classroom and in the field. She demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge augmented by a fluid comparative analysis of symbolism and meaning between cultures bridging the ages with reference to modern scholarship on the subject.
As a scholar of mythology the instructor presented information and helped students analyze and occasionally shared their scholarly view. Sommer made a subtle point during the presentation that accuracy between facts and interpretation is often modified. One of the critical points of learning was that interpretation matters and whomever controls the mode of communication, the individual (s) who commissioned the art controlled the narrative. I asked a couple of students “What do you think about this class?” they responded, “We love it”, “It is one of my favorite classes”. They went on to tell me these field studies are a high light and they do them frequently. It helps them make connections in the content and identify with the key concepts.
At the end of the session the tutor and class left us and my colleague and I went on and discovered more art. Sadly without a master teacher to guide us. But we got along and enjoyed our time. We walked back through the city parted company and I got myself an Indian curry before heading home to write this post. Tomorrow starts at 5:30am and leaving for the airport for a day in Stockholm to see how study abroad education is provided there. We’ll get home at 11pm for a quick turnaround for Friday. All go! Not complaining. Glad to be here!
What did I wonder about today?
I got to experience a master teacher in the classroom and in the field. I wondered what would it take for more professors in a regular semester not only tell students the “what” and show them the “how” to see things or do things in the field. I know teaching professors who do it and I wonder how much more satisfying the learning might be for students and professors if it was done more often. I am glad I work in the classroom and in the field. I like the DIS “teach what you do” model. It makes sense.
I wondered how this kind of earning is measured and evaluated. I am not sure I know how, but it made me wonder what the students in the class learned and how it might influence them. I am not 100% clear on how learning assessment is done at DIS I know papers, projects and demonstrations are done. I wonder if there are other ways to capture the quality I experienced today.