I had some spectacular deja vu two weeks ago as my college classes were studying for finals. I took them down to the building’s huge main lobby, where I hung butcher paper on the walls, with titles I wrote in the center, based on the major units of the semester. I broke them into teams, gave them markers, and asked them to make diagrams of major points, themes, and other relevant information from throughout the last few months. They spent a few minutes at each station, and then rotated to review and build on each other’s work.
My classes this semester were English 98, a remedial class for those whose test scores don’t qualify them to start school with English 101. They are all freshmen. Now, many of these students are decent, responsible, talented young people who go on to have great college careers. But many are not. And it is during activities like this that I hear grumbling and whining. Actually, I hear that in almost every class almost every day.
Here’s where the deja vu comes in. During this review session, a group of four upperclassmen walked by and, observing what we were doing, came over to talk to me. Continue reading