November 30, 2005

Northwestern Michigan.
On the lake, by the town of Shelby ... there's a large campground called Camp Miniwanca.

Every year, the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching is held at this beautiful campsite. Rare in the land of ivory towers, Wakonse isn't discipline specific ... you can find the most hard-core scientist chatting with a literature professor and a grad student in sociology.

I got to go there in 2002 and 2003 ... and I learned a great deal both times. I learned that there really are those in higher education who are interested in pedagogy and how students learn. There are professors who actually work hard at making their classes both valuable and interesting.

During the day attendees go to seminars on teaching, sometimes it's a seminar on teaching within your field, but most of the time it's a seminar on how to adapt different techniques to different types of classes. There's a segment taught by undergrad students to make sure the stuffy old professors remember what it's like to be in college -- and particularly what it's like today. And then, everyone who attends also gives a talk at some point ... a mini-seminar. The "fun" part is that you don't know exactly what you'll be talking about until after you arrive at the conference. That's to keep some of the perfectionist-types from over-preparing. You're supposed to lead a discussion with a short presentation -- not lecture for an hour.

The evenings are for socializing, getting to know people from other disciplines, watching the sun set over Lake Michigan.

I miss teaching.

These two pictures of night falling on the campgrounds sum up my mood perfectly this week ... that mood is why I've resorted to posting other people's funny ... I've been a little too introspective lately.

Enjoy the pictures. Like the word Wakonse (Lakota Sioux for to teach or to inspire), the photos are meant to inspire.

Posted by Red Monkey at November 30, 2005 5:29 PM | Why Johnny Won't Learn and Mrs. Curnutt Is Tired of the System | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


jane said:

What a beautiful campsite, it's no wonder you miss it. But isn't it nice to have memories to reflect on such things?

December 1, 2005 4:20 AM


Joobeky said:

Hey Ender! NICE SITE! love the pics of the camping ground. Nothing but red dirt and hot days out here, the nearest beach is 4hrs drive away :(

December 1, 2005 10:12 AM


charles said:

Looks so inviting for the ski goers dear Ender.

December 2, 2005 7:56 AM


stranger said:

yeah, there are those of us out there who are still interested in pedagogy. i'm taking a workshop right now that is specifically tailored to teaching philosophy at the university level, and it's amazing to learn how many different approaches to teaching are out there, besides just the huge amount of work that goes into putting together a good seminar or lecture.

the scenery there looks great. one of our guest speakers mentioned this conference... now i want to go!

December 2, 2005 8:42 PM


Lucy said:

My sister went to camp miniwanka back in the mid 1960's I remeber being about 4 years old walking around the place. Lots of pine trees.

Quite different in my young mind from the eastern side of Michigan and saginaw Bay

December 7, 2005 3:26 PM
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