Getting my students out of the classroom

I just came back from a talk on campus about Cuba.  It was interesting.  But more interesting to me was the fact that four of my Chinese students were in attendance.  I was really happy to see them there. A couple others had attended the flamenco performance last month.  I am always glad to see them out on campus participating on some of the many activities that take place.

I was somewhat responsible for my students being at the talk tonight.  I decided the other day that I wanted to find a way to get my students out of the classroom, so I took one class to a talk that was held during our class time.  And the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.  So I told my class today that I would give them extra credit for attending up to 5 different talks throughout the rest of the semester and then writing up a little summary of what they understood from each one.  I then mentioned the talk tonight as a possible place to start this quest for extra credit.  Four students took me up on it.

And they were rewarded by more than extra credit for doing it.  When I went to talk to them at the end of the evening, they were talking with another student, a young woman who was obviously not Chinese.  They were excited to tell me that they had just met her and that she spoke Chinese!

I am lucky to be in a situation where I can make assignments like this.  I am luckier still to be in a place where my students actually do them.


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