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Activity 2: Learner Vs. Teacher

Activity 2: Learner Vs. Teacher
Activity 2: Learner Vs. Teacher

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Photocopy Handouts 1, "A Story" and 2, "Love in the Classroom," one for each participant.

Description of Activity

Distribute copies of Handout 1, "A Story," to all participants. Ask two or three volunteers to read the poem aloud. Allow about thirty seconds between readings and before delving into the questions below.

Lead a "What do we have here?" discussion about the poem. Use these questions:

  • What is the story of the poem; what is it about?
  • What is being taught, and what is being learned?
  • Who or what are the teachers? Who or what are the students? Do only humans fill the roles? Is the bird in the poem a teacher?

Use these questions to lead a "What's the big idea?" discussion about the poem:

  • What does the mother in "A Story" not want her daughter to see? Why?
  • Is there an "a-ha!" moment in "A Story"? Who has a big realization, and what is it?
  • Why is it that children are sometimes more effective teachers than adults?

Distribute copies of Handout 2, "Love in the Classroom," to all participants. Ask two or three volunteers to read the poem aloud. Allow about thirty seconds between readings and before delving into the questions below.

Lead a "What do we have here?" discussion about the poem. Use these questions:

  • What is the story of the poem; what is it about?
  • What is being taught, and what is being learned?
  • Who or what are the teachers? Who or what are the students?

Lead a "What's the big idea?" discussion, using these questions:

  • Is there an "a-ha!" moment in "Love in the Classroom"? What is it?
  • What does the speaker mean when he says, "Everything's a fragment and everything's not a fragment"? Can you find fragments of language, fragments of music, or other fragments in the poem? (Look in the poem's form, as well as its content.)
  • What does music contribute to the poem? What does it contribute to the speaker's understanding? Is the music in "Love in the Classroom" a teacher?
  • Why does the speaker in the poem say that he keeps a "coward's silence"? What does he hold back? What is he afraid of?
  • What lesson does the class give their teacher? Do you think the students know the impact they are having on the teacher?
  • Do you ever think your parent or teacher is having intense feelings or complex thoughts while she/he is instructing you? Can you think of any times, in the present or when you were younger, when an adult may have learned something from you?
  • Who and what have been your best guides and teachers? Do they know?

NOTE: A Few Words about the Poems

"A Story" portrays a mother trying to protect her daughter's innocence, turning her face so her daughter will not see the truth that all things must die. Another interpretation, that may be more ambiguous but interesting for this workshop, is that the daughter teaches the mother something about "true life," about innocence, and maybe about herself.

"Love in the Classroom" is both an account of the love a teacher can have for his/her students and a testament to the extraordinary lessons the students can teach the teacher. Music enters and exits the poem like jazz solos.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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