Why

I lost count how many times I saw this thumbnail in my Twitter stream yesterday:

sleeper thumb

I and other folks in DTLT have been following the work of Michael Wesch for years now. I have written a few posts about him as well. He is particularly inspiring to me because he is not only a professor of Anthropology, but a filmmaker.

He came to UMW in 2011 for our Faculty Academy and talked about students becoming “Knowledge-Able”

Part 1:

Part 2:

So what were folks tweeting about yesterday? It was Wesch’s new video “The Sleeper“, a brilliant little short that reminds us what students bring to class. It reminds us what the idea of education is – student centered. However, it also reminds faculty to think about who is out there in the vastness of the college (or high school, middle school, elementary school classrooms) lecture halls. It is the next generation of people that we are teaching. Those people have lives outside of class and they all have unique stories – and problems – and obstacles. They are the Why. If we allow students to bring their stories into their schooling, we might will make better connections.

So after briefly bemoaning that he wasn’t making a difference, or not a good teacher because this one student was sleeping or barely paying attention in class, Dr. Wesch did something simple. He asked the student to lunch. He had a conversation with his student. He found out more about someone in the sea of students in his class. I’ll let the video explain the rest, but there’s a particular part in the video, which Wesch animates himself, that reminds me of another great talk that Wesch gave at UC Irvine titled “Why We Need a Why?” . In it he gets up on the desk and “shakes his tailfeather”, in service of demonstrating an anthropological concept, of course.

wesch_tailfeathers

 

Here’s “The Sleeper”

Thank you, again, Dr. Wesch!

2 Comments

  1. You nailed it. That little animated dance is indeed referencing me shaking my tailfeather. And I can still see David’s disturbed look as I did it. It really cut me at the time – made me really consider whether I was just trying to entertain or truly educate.

  2. We both know that it was edutainment. Keep popping that tailfeather – while you still can 😉

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