Wednesday, 10 September 2008

On teaching the French Revolution to American Students

Scene: a classroom in Rome. It is uncomfortably hot. Present are A PROFESSOR, tired, stood by a blackboard on which are sketched vague and allusive maps of Europe; and A CLASS, mostly bright but listless in the heat. They show varying degrees of engagement with the discussion at hand. Some are contributing actively, like the TALKATIVE ONE while others stare blankly at the professor, like the DULLY SULLEN ONE or compose emails.

Professor [brightly]: Now did everyone remember to bring the handout I gave you all on Monday?

Class [murmuring]: yes... no... handout? which handout? wait, that was for today?

Professor [determinedly]: Right, you'll all have had a chance to read through the text and you've hopefully come to some conclusions.

Dull Sullen one: snort

Professor: raises eyebrow

[brief silence]

Professor: OK then, now why do you think that Edmund Burke has reacted in this way to the events of the French Revolution? How can we explain his position?

Talkative One: Because he's British?


Martinus Scriblerus said...

I recently encountered the response 'That's so European!'

Antonio Gurrado said...

Great as usual. As for Burke, mi permetto:


ursus arctos said...

Perhaps you could convince some of your pals from the Sud to bring to flares to class one day.

That would get their attention.

chris c paul said...

I would have replied "with such eloquent and lucid opposition burke certanly wasn't a septic".

Can you fail them all?

You could offer some how is the french revolution different and similar to the American Revolution stuff.

Anonymous said...

"stood by" is terribly northern, you know.

You'll get sent to a oarding school in the south of English if you're not careful.

ginkers said...

Ach, it was hot. I might have said the same thing myself...