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Lori, since the anger problem is largely separate from the passive
learning problem, I can pass on this technique that has worked for me
teaching the same kind of course:
 
"In this course, we need to strike a balance between working on exactly
what you're interested in and using my expertise and prepared lessons.
Based on my training and on surveys of past students, I'm prepared to
cover (say) 23 topics. We have time for only 15 (say). Please check off
which of the twenty-three topics you'd most like to cover. I'll tabulate
the results, report them to you next class, and we'll cover the topics
you choose."
 
Of course, students can still refuse to learn, and teachers can still
bore potential learners into passivity, but the approach above reminds
students all semester long that the course is addressing, within
practical confines, what they said they most needed to study.
 
 
Jim Bell                                Ph. (604) 960-6365
Learning Skills Centre                  Fax (604) 960-6330
University of Northern BC               email [log in to unmask]
3333 University Way
Prince George, BC
Canada  V2N 4Z9                    =====-=-====-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=