Well, this is an interesting teaching concept, excerpted from Teaching Naked (Bowen, 2012), but actually referenced from another book I have previously blogged about, Bain’s What the Best College Teachers Do (2004).
In short, the professor writes WGAD (who gives a damn) on the whiteboard each day. Students can interrupt at any time during the class with “WGAD!”
No, the instructor isn’t supposed to get all flustered or offended. The instructor couples this motivating offer to debate anything with the expectation that students keep an open mind and honestly debate both sides of every WGAD objection. Another aspect of this technique that I like is that it really helps learners make relevance of the material. Adult learners especially need to know why they need to know something. Allowing them to ask WGAD helps them to make this connection.
I am teaching a “nursing fluff” kind of course. Or at least, that’s how the health promotion course is perceived by the students and even by some senior faculty. And it’s true, even without taking the course the students would probably turn out to be good nurses. However, if I offered the WGAD opportunity, perhaps they would value the content of the course and discover how it can change their views of nursing. It would also be a good challenge for me to be able to think on my feet and make connections between course content and nursing practice. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try this technique on my first time through the course….but maybe next semester!?
Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching naked: How moving technology out of your college classroom will improve student learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.