December 5: After-Class Interview

As he does on most Mondays, Travis lead a grammar lesson. In this case, he focused on the use of commas, basing the lesson on his analysis of some of the problems they showed in their essays for the just-completed unit on Oedipus.   Following the grammar lesson, Travis organized small groups to discuss a scene. For the first time, he tries assigning them roles to help facilitate their conversations.  

In this interview, the videographer asks Travis a series of questions about how the class went, what he had planned, what he has planned for the rest of the unit, and his background and experience in general.  






Travis interview

Slow Connection (56k)

Fast Connection (384k)

(0:30) How did class go today?

"I think I could have spent some more time going over the roles..."

(1:50) Did you get done what you wanted to get done?

"Just having them spend some time thinking about something, some line, some word, some metaphor, predicting something that may happen in the play, that's what I wanted them to do, and in some ways I think that's what happened."  

(2:40) Travis talks about how he tried to achieve his goals

(3:50) Travis discusses his plans for Wednesday, particularly a discussion of interracial dating

(5:10) Travis reflects on his plans for the unit as a whole

"Of course, I want students to enjoy Shakespeare. I want students, in some ideal world, to enjoy Shakespeare as much as I enjoy Shakespeare, to appreciate Shakespeare's language as much as I appreciate Shakespeare's language, to appreciate the political Shakespeare as much as I appreciate the political Shakespeare. I think that's the large goal."

(9:20) Travis talks about the culminating assessment he has planned.

"Students have spent time taking a line or a section or a part from a character and rewriting that in a vernacular that is familiar to them... and now at the end [I will ask] students to take a line and to create an entire dramatic piece around that. So students have to think about what's going on here. What context is this being said in? What are the themes?"

(12:00) Travis talks about the homework he assigns and what he expects from students.

"I have a lot of deep reservations about making things too explicit."

(16:30) Travis talks about how his plans for Wednesday might be informed by what he observed in class today.  

(17:50) Travis talks about the teaching of the Canterbury Tales earlier in the year.  

(19:10) Travis talks about how he prepares for class and how he taught Shakespeare the previous year (when he felt he really had to rush through it) and his concern with getting students to talk more and to talk more about the text.  

(24:00) Travis talks about a resource he is using Shakespeare Set Free (Folger Library)

(25:20) Travis discusses the school, his work with the History teacher, the students and the culture of the school.  

(30:40) Travis talks about his own background and education in New York City and then Amherst College.

"I wrote one paper in high school... My first year in college I wrote forty papers. There was a huge chasm in terms of preparation."  

(33:45) Travis talks about the students and where they are in their ability to engage in discussions. And what he wants them to get out of performing Shakespeare, and the assessment criteria he will use.  

(37:45) Travis talks about his teaching of grammar and his use of journals for the students.

"No one teaches grammar anymore... I tell students, someone has to stop the blame game, if you haven't learned it, it's my job to teach it to you."

(39:40) Travis talks about homework and how he goes around the room and skims it to get a sense of where the students are.  
(42:30) Travis talks about how he tried to wrap-up the discussion and some of the modifications he will make next time.    

(45:20) Travis talks about the ways in which the students have been accomplishing the goals he has set for them in previous units.