Posted by: r.m. | May 29, 2009

your thoughts please

so, my ecology students tell me they are having difficulty concentrating in the class because their thoughts are on the elections.  leaving ecology class today, i saw three of my old students (they had taken the class last year) and I told them about the difficulties I’m having in all my classes with student focus, and one of them said, well, you want their attention, talk to them about politics.


since the purpose of education is to learn, and not to memorize piles upon piles of information that may quite likely be forgotten, and, even if not forgotten, remain merely piles of information, unused, not knowledge.  (remember that beautiful definition of knowledge? information that changes your behavior)

and thus it must, at the least, include skills or modes of thinking

and since the students are interested in the elections (or claim to be ;-), then, why not include elections and skills and ecology together?

So, i’m thinking  of teaching ecology class next week in a different way: by incorporating what the students are thinking about (political elections) in the class.

how? (a) Wed: the class discusses what environmental platform Lebanon needs. together the class discusses the issues that are of top priority environmentally (and, possibly, make links between economic health and environmental health); (b) then, the class divides into different groups, a group for each political party. (should the class choose which political party? or should it be random? I’m thinking random.); (c) Friday: the groups of each political party get 5 minutes to discuss the real (official) environmental platform of that political party, and, if applicable, the actions that party has taken that have impacted the environment in Lebanon, either directly or indirectly. the students would not have an opportunity to criticize other political parties but only to present the agenda of that one particular party. why? because i’m thinking it would be more productive for the students (and possibly us all) to step away from being against one or the other and being ‘for’ something. perhaps the result will be that none of the political parties have a decent environmental agenda. 😉

what do you think?



  1. it is a great idea, but tell them that students in gaza–even under american-zionist bombardment find it possible to concentrate. find it necessary to study. i don’t buy their b.s. argument one bit. they are just trying to get out of doing the work of reading and thinking.

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