Note or addendum to my previous post:
Two Things; Thing Number One–I do quite a bit of research for these posts and I spent much of that time trying to find academic articles that address the pedagogical challenges of seminar-style learning. Surprisingly, very little has been written from the “grassroots” or student’s side of the “bad” seminar equation. In many ways, my “solutions” are provisional–open to revision–and are not nearly as effective as corrective actions taken on the part of the professor, tutor, or preceptor, themselves. However, the majority of persons engaging in seminar-style classes are students and have little–in any–hope of inciting reform on the part of their teachers, so the challenge is how to help without seeming to.
Thing Number Two–obviously there are many more reasons why seminars are “bad” than I have addressed. In this regard, my post is strangely particular, but I also mean for it to have something to say universally to students stuck in sub-par seminars across the board. I think that the “solutions” suggested are indicative of an attitude that I first tried to cultivate in my undergrad which may be broadly–and childishly–summarized as “If this class sucks, it is probably because I suck. Therefore, I must work to improve it.” I don’t think that it is always the case that a class is unfulfilling or unhelpful directly because I have failed to do something or have done something wrong, but I think it is often helpful to act as though this were the case.