Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brilliance Bordering on Irrationality

I don't really get Dr. McDuffee, though one thing is certain: he is unlike any teacher I have ever had. I don't think all the things I'd heard about him could have prepared me for his class, either. Though he and Dr. Litfin teach two halves of the same course, Christianity and Western Culture, they could not be more opposite in their teaching styles. Dr. Litfin could occasionally wax poetical at times, but overall his teaching style was straightforward, fact-oriented, linear, and concrete. Dr. McDuffee, on the other hand, thrives on rhetoric. Everything is interconnected with everything. I'm still trying to get a handle on how to learn from him, and his class has made me realize what a linear thinker I am. Dr. Litfin was easy for me to follow; Dr. McDuffee is not. However, I've met other people in the class who tell me that their experience is the opposite; Litfin was hard, and McDuffee makes more sense to them.

I've been thinking about this a lot, particularly since the class is still new to me. I think I'm finally beginning to understand that Dr. McDuffee's primary objective in class is not to transfer the course material into our brains; rather, it is to get us to think. This is his goal. CWC is merely a context. I suppose all of Moody is merely a context. Maybe I can learn more from him than I originally thought.

Another issue that this has brought to my mind is the issue of learning styles. If I am a linear thinker, I may have the propensity to leave the part of my audience behind - the part that more readily understands Dr. McDuffee's lectures than Dr. Litfins. I can't be all things to all people, but it did get me thinking: who do I isolate when I say such and such?

When I'm out of Moody, which of these teachers will I remember?

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