It’s a year later and the books are about to go. The director who instituted this changed resigned a semester early as well. It’s been a bit of a train wreck, but is there anything to be learned from this experience? Was there anything worth salvaging from the myriad of bad decisions that came down? I would like to say that there is something worth saving.
The material presented in the Mosaic 2 Reading book was worth the war we found ourselves in. It has promoted class discussions that I wouldn’t have had with students otherwise, and it has given us a lot of food for thought.
The first chapter was about language and learning. The students read an article about why bilinguals are smarter than monolinguals. I encouraged them with their language learning endeavours because it is making them smarter and more capable than their American and Canadian counterparts.
The second reading was on the effects of social media in the classroom. Surprisingly, the writer was for social media in the classroom as a way to promote interaction. I remember so many raised eyebrows with this. Still, it was good to show them another perspective. And this was just the beginning!
Danger and Daring was the theme of chapter two. We read “Into Thin Air”, a short article about a man who climbed Mount Everest and survived the storm on May 10, 1996. The article was by Jon Kraukauer, who was able to tell his story quite well. He described his numbness at the summit and all the trouble with the oxygen tank on the way down. I could sense the students were enjoying a story that was not watered down.
The second story in Danger and Daring was also worth reading. We read an except from Farley Mowat’s “Never Cry Wolf”. It was a well expressed piece on the world we have lost by not knowing about wolves and other animals. The writer expressed a moment were irrational fear set in and he forgot about all the time he had spent studying and learning about these magnificent creatures. Again, students were challenged and enjoyed the language being presented.
Chapter 3 had a review of the book The Richer Sex. The students were introduced to a new kind of family where the wife is the bread winner. They learned about the grading curve, boys’ clubs, and a new kind of trophy wife. They expressed their views on feminism. This was a topics I have wanted to tackle in class but hadn’t had opportunity until then.
Chapter 3 also had a reading entitled “Has Facebook Destroyed the Word ‘Friend’?” The students were introduced to a very negative presentation of Facebook. I was able to ask them what social media they use and how often they use it. They expressed opinions on Mark Zuckerburg. This had direct relevance for their lives and many of them agreed that Facebook has changed the word “Friend” for the worse. But it wasn’t all negative, and I left class thinking many of them were very thoughtful on the topic.
I still have chapter 4 to cover. One reading is in the Taj Mahal and the other is on plastic surgery. I’m looking forward to going to class. What will they consider to be a beautiful building or monument? Are there any other structures similar to the Taj Mahal? What will be there opinion on plastic surgery? Is okay for Asians to look like Koreans instead of the Caucasian beauty standard? I will find out and I’m sure I will get some intelligent, informed opinions.
I would never have picked Mosaic 2 Reading on my own. I am thankful for this one gift from our previous director and I intend to use it next year. It gave me hope even though I thought the students would not be able to handle it. I’m chronicling hope in the university classroom. Reading aloud is a gift to be enjoyed for every student.