Avoiding the Bucket Approach; Embracing the Haiku

Designing a course that fosters engaged learning rather than passive consumption (pitfall #4) seems to be one of our most important challenges in hybrid course design. With this in mind, one of my favourite ways to help students actively engage with course material is through poetry: the poems they read as well as those they create. The haiku with its simple non-rhyming 3 line (5/7/5 syllables) format is a fun and accessible way for students to create meaning, as in the following, which rejects the notion that teaching is about filling a bucket with knowledge or that students are containers to be piled up with information:

Active knowledge, yes!

Go create engaged learning

Let’s toss the bucket

An activity I’ve used before, and will use in our hybrid WGSS 111 “Feminist Perspectives on Current Issues” course, is what I call the “Seven-Minute Haiku.” Students work in pairs and first give each other a short list of concepts or themes that relate to the material they’re studying in that particular module. They each then take their list and select several of the concepts to integrate into a haiku. Often the results are very good: creative, poignant, and/or self-reflexive. They can share and discuss these with each other and choose whether or not to share with the large group. Online this might be achieved through breakout groups or by posting lists that students leave for each other to choose from and work on independently, bringing the finished haiku back into online discussion or in the face-to-face classroom.

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2 Responses to Avoiding the Bucket Approach; Embracing the Haiku

  1. yangjim says:

    This sounds fun, innovative, and engaging. I was wondering if Haiku can be modified and used in a course that is more focused on quantitative subjects.

  2. Janet Lee says:

    Hi Jimmy and thanks for your question. I think it’s really versatile because the haiku itself is based on the themes and issues you’re dealing with in class. The poetry part of it is only a tool to help engage with these concepts. Also, as well as reflecting on objective course themes/methods and concepts, it could be used to reflect on more subjective things: how they’re feeling/managing the course and its material. Perhaps it’s also a way for students to engage with another part of their brain in more quantitative classes, especially when it’s low-stakes and students don’t have to share their creations. Might be worth a try!

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