Monday, August 15, 2016

Planning Classes - Poetry Time!

I'm teaching our intro to poetry course for the first time in ages (6 or 7 years).  I think most of my colleagues and I teach it as a skills course, rather than as a survey of poetry across time, or great poetry, or whatever.  So we focus on how to read poetry, how to approach it.  And it's fun, really fun.

The difficult thing is that the course is geared towards two very different audiences: the general ed crowd, often first year students, and the creative writing crowd, for whom it's one of three or four courses they choose from to complete a "genre" requirement.

The upshot is that you get first year students with no experience in poetry, taking the course because it was open at a time that worked for them and will fulfill a GE type requirement, and you get senior creative writing majors, some of whom really, really want to be poets.  (I don't know why they put off the genre courses, but they often do.)  And everything in between.

How do you set up a course for that diverse an audience?

What sorts of assignments help the first years while not boring the seniors, or letting them get lazy?

How do you challenge the seniors to learn new stuff without overwhelming the first years?

I have 35 Students enrolled, so a biggish class for my department, but not at all for many departments.  What sorts of assignments do you give? 

(I'll post about what I've got going later.)

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