Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Love the Middle Ages?

Story from today's St. Paul Pioneer Press about a new class at Augsburg College, called Medieval Connections.

"They wear dark robes, gather around a wide oak table in a paneled room and study the lives of monks, rogues and poets of the Middle Ages.

Sometimes you can spy them in the Augsburg College library, scrawling their views in the margins of a "secret" book chained to a podium. When their teacher — a hulking, buoyant, bearded fellow — bounds into class, they greet him with a hearty, "Salve, magister!" He responds genially, "Salvete, discipuli!"

It may be one of the most unusual classes in the Twin Cities — a medieval course taught at a Lutheran college with seven professors and 22 students who, for a few hours each week, lock out the modern world to pretend they live in 12th century Europe. ..."

This sounds totally cool to me, historian and former theatre-major that I am. Costumes aside, my favorite classes when an undergrad at Northwestern were team taught by professors from different departments. The Renaissance, taught by an English Lit professor and an Art Historian was the best class I ever took.

"... "I think we have a group of faculty increasingly thinking about what can we do that's not just the traditional lecture/small group discussion. What can we do that will wake students up a little bit?" said Joan Griffin, Augsburg's associate dean for general education and an English professor who also helps teach Medieval Connections. ..."

Yay! This is what we need more of--experiential learning--and less traditional lecture/small group discussion. If only the idea would catch on in more colleges...and high schools, middle schools and elementary schools.

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