At the Risk of Possibly Over-Analyzing

Today I had two miserable sections of my experimental principles course, the worst I can remember this semester. The majority of students didn’t seem to remember anything from last week. They looked at me dumbly for most of the class. I asked what I thought were easy questions to start some kind of discussion and got nothing in return.

Yes, I know it’s the third quarter of the semester when everyone gets tired, but why yesterday? The fact that both sections were poor suggests a common cause.

This material, which we began last Wednesday, is on the theory of the firm. Here’s where it get’s complicated. I’m using Paul Heyne’s approach, rather than the traditional approach which is spelled out in the text we’re using. I told students this over several days in the last week and provided multiple copies of Heyne for any student who wished to read it. Last Wednesday and Friday the material seemed to go fine. Then yesterday happened.

Is this the problem of teaching at variance with the text, or could it be something as mundane as Saint Patrick’s Day falling last weekend?

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