Prof. B. Schweizer
MEMO TO STUDENTS
Re: the format of “What I found most interesting..”
Based on the number of students in this class, every regular class meeting
I will be calling on five to six randomly selected students to
produce a brief comment on the text that is currently being discussed. You
may recall a scene or topic from memory or, preferably, refer to a specific
passage or scene in the text to base your comment on.
Expect to be called upon 3 times during the semester. Your name will be
selected at random, and I will announce the “lucky winners” each
time before class starts, no earlier. So every class session, come prepared
with at least one statement that relates to the currently assigned text.
In addition, you should feel free to volunteer a statement
any time during class, even if you are not specifically called upon. Your
voluntary statements, if substantial, can be graded and count toward the
final score as well if you turn in a written summary.
The way I tabulate your scores is as follows: for every one of the statements
that you are called upon to make, you can earn up to 33 points (corresponding
to an A). For the statements you volunteer, you will receive a maximum of
20 points for an A. If you are not in class when I call your name and you
don't excuse yourself ahead of time, you will simply be
logged for 0 points that day. If you are in class but unable to comment,
you will also be logged for 0 points. To receive an A for this segment of
your course grade (which counts for 20% overall), you need to accumulate
at least 91 points. The highest number of points you can reach in this segment
toward the calculation of your final grade is 105.
It is essential that you turn in a written version of your comment with
your name on it, either right after class or during the following class session.
Your comment need not be long or fancy. For instance, with regard to “Hands” you
may find it interesting that the cause of the woman's discolored hands is
not revealed until much later in the story; or you may wonder why Wang Yaming
is such a bad student and whether her expulsion is justified; as for “The
Merchant's Wife,” it is certainly interesting to note the many cultural
differences that are subtly interwoven in this tale from Southeast Asia.
Or you may ask yourself what the Merchant's Wife means when she says “Those
who kill and burn wear money belts; those who repair bridges and fix roads
turn into lepers” (29). These are just a few examples of what form
your comment could take. So, when you read, always have a pen at the ready
and mark any passage that seems particularly fascinating, provocative, or
unclear, and then prepare in your mind a brief statement about that passage
and a reason or two why you chose it.