Teachers: take a risk and accept a little chaos

Kevin Perkin’s Week 2 blog was one of this week’s best

Experimenting is always scary for teachers.

We’re tempted to stick with what works because we know that experimentation always results in mistakes and at least a little bit of chaos.

And so it seems we’ve had a little chaos with the third generation of my blogging assignment for first-year Advertising students at St. Lawrence College here in Kingston, Ontario.

It seems that a good number of students still aren’t grasping that their posts are supposed to be reflections and analyses of what they are learning about advertising and marketing in their classes. The first line of their assignment says this, so I’m not sure where I’ve gone wrong. Perhaps these students haven’t read the assignment or they haven’t grasped my oral instructions. Or maybe my instructions are too complex and lack clarity.

Emily McCracken’s post looked at a bizarre toaster that provides weather forecasts on toast

If students can’t find anything in class to write about that interests them—say it ain’t so!—they can analyze ads or marketing strategies or industry trends in the outside world.

For some reason, at least a half-dozen students have instead written about political issues in the news or have crafted self-styled product endorsements. Theirs were the initial entries I marked today and I’ll admit that I was at first a little shaken.

But then I kept reading and discovered that most students are getting it. They’re reflecting on their lessons or issues related to the industries they’re studying. And they’re backing up their opinions and claims with evidence and their writing has generally already improved dramatically since last week’s posts.

Wow! And Phew!

Below are my favourite posts of the week. Enjoy, and please do visit these students’ blogs and leave positive comments.

I know they’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, we’ll show off some of their posts in class and, hopefully, the rest of my awesome first-year Advertising students will catch on.

Travis Stinson wrote about how a new social media app is invading our privacy beyond the grave

1. Brianna Visser’s blog

2. Julia Nichols’ blog

3. TJ Locke’s blog

4. Tim Frost’s blog

5. Emily McCracken’s blog

6. Kevin Perkin’s blog

7. Travis Stinson’s blog

8. Stuart Roberts’ blog

9. Emily Fawcett’s blog

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About teachingteacher

Business communications instructor, journalist, corporate communications writer and media trainer ... and Masters Candidate M.Ad.Ed.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Course design, Critical Thinking, Reflective Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Teachers: take a risk and accept a little chaos

  1. Tartooth says:

    I’ll take a risk…

    You first say this.
    “If students can’t find anything in class to write about that interests them—say it ain’t so!—they can analyze ads or marketing strategies or industry trends in the outside world.”

    But then follow with this
    “For some reason, at least a half-dozen students have instead written about political issues in the news or have crafted self-styled product endorsements.”

    I feel that many students that you are referring to who did analyze ads, accidentally turned there analyzed ads into endorsements without even realizing it.

    You have told us to analyze ads in case we don’t have anything to write about, so we did… or so we thought we did. I personally posted about how Tippmann made a poor advertisement. I didn’t bash the product or analyze the product, I focused my post on the poor make up of the advertisement. I don’t see how I endorsed the product.

    Perhaps, you could go over how we should properly analyze advertisements in one of our future classes, and maybe challenge the class to analyze an ad. I feel the class would enjoy it quite a bit, as we regularly tare apart advertisements every day.

    With that being said, I also want to note that you’re doing an amazing job teaching and I look up to your determination and motivation.

  2. Hi Robin. Thanks for your feedback. This is great information! We are actually going to learn a technique for analyzing ads later in the semester. We will devote most of Monday’s class to analyzing the best blogs so far. We will look at two or three of the best entries. Meanwhile, I’d like you to focus on blogging about what you are learning in class about advertising and marketing. You can apply what you are learning in class to real-world ads and marketing campaigns. I look forward to receiving your feedback about the lesson. Keep it coming! And keep up the A effort. You’re a solid communicator.

  3. Hi Frank,
    FYI the students were given a three-step process in my class two weeks ago for analyzing ads examining audience, positioning and appeal techniques, so this should improve in future. Also, better to start rough and morove than the other way around. That’s learning, right? And I’d say political issues are completely relevant in a free market context. I’m enjoying, these, thanks!

    • Hi Kathy.

      That’s great news about the ad analysis. I’ll also be doing an ad report lesson in a few weeks.

      I’ve kept political issues off the assignment because I’ve found that giving students the chance to write about them clouds the picture. I really want them to focus on what they are learning in class. If they can apply lessons to the outside world, that’s great. They can also write about outside advertising and marketing issues—in a pinch.

      – Frank

  4. *improve (damn Apple iPad)

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