I tripped somewhat spectacularly on my way to class yesterday, resulting in a trip to the doctor for my sprained ankle, a gimpy 1.5 hours of class (rather than the scheduled 3), and an afternoon of quality time with my cats and my DVR as I RICEd.
Which brings me to the title of this post. I may have watched several consecutive episodes of Project Runway, and I'm a little bit enthralled by the interactions between the contestants, Tim Gunn, and the judges (personified for this purposes of this post as Heidi Klum, although Heidi is always accompanies by 3 other judges).
I'll start by acknowledging the overall inappropriateness of the competitive atmosphere of the show ("Remember, one of you is going home!") for a classroom. On the other hand, there's something intriguing about the way each challenge (assignment) is always interpreted by the contestants (students) in very unique, individual ways. I think any assignment in an real classroom with enough room for student interpretation to showcase real higher order thinking is likely to result in this kind of diversity of responses:
(The challenge was to make a red carpet dress for Heidi Klum -- two of these co-won, and one was a "catastrophe", can you tell which is the loser?)
There's also something intriguing in the way Tim Gunn tries to ask the students leading questions to make sure they're really on the right path without ever coming out and saying, "I think this is a mistake." On the other hand, the judges are blunt, direct, and to the point, praising skill and good taste and excoriating the disasters, but after it's too late to make any changes in course. In most classrooms these two roles are merged into a single person. The teacher has to strike a balance between warm, fuzzy Tim Gunn-like probing / leading (Socratic?) questions and cold, final Heidi Klum & Co. judging (assessment).
How much of each do you put your time into as a teacher? Does the balance vary by age or ability of the student?
(P.S. Yes, it is hilarious that I, who have the fashion sense of an armadillo, find Project Runway so fascinating. I think it's the raw creativity on display that I find so compelling.)