Friday, June 03, 2005

 

U of B update: Time 2 Party

More knuckles for me

It's Friday at the University of Boogie, it's a beautiful sunny day, and only 24 of my 41 students show up for class. What's going on outside?

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U of B was founded in the 17th century in a medieval town. Note, in the far right corner of the photo, the medieval archeological relic being put to good contemporary use as an anchor for the "Time to Party" inflatable arch. Here's a closer look:

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This being Germany, serious precautions are taken for serious partying:

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Why don't American universities have "catastrophe protection" vans on hand like this?

Meanwhile, in my comparatively safe classroom, the 24 nerds who have shown up are watching the last 30 minutes of another film, The Trial of Bernhard Goetz, a dramatization of the notorious 1984 vigilante subway shooting in New York City. In the 2 hour film, actors play out excerpts from the actual trial transcript.

At the end of the film, I pick 12 of the students to deliberate as a jury. They deadlock, 10-2 in favor of conviction on attempted murder: the Germans don't like citizens carrying guns and taking the law into their own hands. (The real Goetz jury acquitted him.)

After some brief concluding remarks, and my "have a nice weekend," I get it again: the students rap their knuckles on the table for a few seconds.

According to Liane, this does not happen every day -- only when the students wish to convey that they liked the class. Indeed, yesterday, I think they found the first 90 minutes of the Goetz trial a bit grueling, and when I stopped the tape the students pretty much bolted from the room.

So... my new word for kudos: "knuckles"!

**

Comments:
Oscar, I'm a return-reader, never-before commenter. Just a quick note:

Thanks for sharing the GRAND humor, narrative, and pictures!!!

All the best, Jamie
 
Re 'catastrophe protection'. I've seen them in the Cambridge/Boston area (Madison's an Eden?).

This reader's enjoying your stint in Europe...
 
Getting knuckles sounds really rewarding. You're going to have to do something really flashy at the end of each class to make sure you get knuckles. Thrice someone has rapped on my forehead with knuckles but I didn't get the same feel-good vibe as you probably get.
 
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