Picture: Teaching at the Summer School of Philosophy, University of Naples "Federico II" 2013
LESSON PLAN (Sample)
The class is divided in three main sections (Presentations, Lecture and Class Discussion), plus a brief introduction and conclusion.
1. Greetings and Attendance 5 minutes ca.
This initial section is also devoted to allow students to offer feedback on the course content, rules and assignments. I am constantly checking with them on these topics and make adjustments based on their precious feedbacks.
2. Presentations (2) 10 minutes ca.
In the first part, two hosts will give a 5 minute presentation (slides + talk) on a topic related to the readings which has been previously agreed upon.
There are the instructions for my students to prepare their presentations:
Create a slide show summarizing the reading you were assigned and answering the questions in the assignments related to your reading.
Your presentation should be divided in 2 sections: 3 minutes (ca.) to summarize the reading and 2 minutes (ca.) to answer the questions.
Use between 5 to (a maximum of) 8 slides. Makes sure to include pictures in your slides. Save your slides as PDFs
Post this slideshow on NYU Classes - Forum before the class starts.
On the day of your presentation, you will have 5 minutes to present your slides in front of the class.
During their presentation, I may add additional information if needed.
The passage from this section to the next one are the assignments; I clarify any points which need further explanation and then move on to the lecture.
3. Lecture 30 minutes ca.
In this section, I offer an interactive lecture on the topic. First of all, I introduce the specific topic of the class in relation not only to our course, but also to everyday life, offering contemporary and concrete examples of the theories we are studying to validate their relevance. Then I highlight the most important aspects of the reading and explain them in details. I constantly ask my students questions in order to engage them and make them part of the lecture. Their views, questions and experiences deeply enrich the conversation and offer the perfect transition to the fourth part of the class, which is the class discussion.
Example: Class on Michel Foucault - Section "Continental Philosophy" - SF3 This class focuses on Michel Foucault, Antihumanism and the Death of Man. First of all, I want my students to understand the difference between Posthumanism and Antihumanism. Secondly, I want them to learn some key notions developed by Foucault, such as episteme, biopower, panopticism, power-knowledge and technologies of the self. Thirdly, I want them to understand the meaning of the “Death of Man,” as proclaimed by Foucault in “The Order of Things” (1966); I also want them to locate such a philosophical claim within the genealogical tradition of Friedrich Nietzsche and the “Death of God”.
4. Class Discussion 25 minutes ca.
At this point, we will open the discussion on the readings. We will do that by answering the questions asked in the assignments (which are part of the pool of questions for the midterm exam).
Example: Class on "Human Enhancement: Pros and Cons" - Section "Bioethics" - SF3
This class focuses on Bioethics. We discuss the topical question on the difference between therapy and enhancement,presenting two different perspective: the bio-conservative approach of Fukuyama and the bio-liberal approach of Sandberg. We watch a 2:22 clip of this interview "Our Posthuman Condition" (the youtube video is posted in this section), in which the two authros are offered an hypothetical pill that would enhance their cognitive abilities (a cognitive enhancer). Would they take it?
Sandberg would take it, if the side-effects were not too risky. Fukuyama would not take it, because enhancement does not only relate to the individual but to society as a whole; he is worried that people in the future would be made to take it for different reasons.
After showing the short clip, I ask my students if they would take it and why, underlying that there is not right or wrong answer, but there are different perspectives based on different social, cultural and religious values, among others.
At this point, we open the discussion according to this model:
We divide the class in 3 sections: who would take it, how would not take it, who is not sure if they would take it or not.
They have 5 minutes to present three pertinent points sustaining their views.
Each group has 2 minutes ca. to present the three points it in front of the other groups.
Each group is given 5 minutes to answers to the points raised by the other groups.
After that, we open the debate to individual and group feedback on the discussion.
5. Conclusions and Introduction to our next class 5 minutes ca.
In this final 5 minutes, we conclude the class and present the topics for our next class.
Workshops are conducted every 8 classes (more or less), for a total of 3 to 4 workshops.
They employ a student-centered, group-learning instructional strategy and are fully run by students,