This morning's lecture might have been the best classroom session yet. Our presenter, Dr. Christopher Hamner, was guiding us through a presentation about motivations for soldiers. I liked his approach, and the kids did too. He didn't have a script necessarily, but had a lecture that sounded more like a conversation. His Powerpoint slideshow was almost entirely images, with the occasional slide offering questions for us to ponder or big points he was trying to summarize. He invited questions and comments.
When he got to the poster seen above, one of the students said that he found the poster creepy. The classroom erupted. And I can't help but agree with him. There's several suggestive elements to the figures in this poster, and as I shared with one instructor here, I'd blush if I tried to articulate what made it creepy. Therefore, the student's choice of the word "creepy" is good enough for me.
What that student's response did, though, was cue our lecturer to take the symbolism another level deeper. I could see Dr. Hamner immediately shift gears, and he engaged in talk with the class about the role sexuality and masculinity played in motivating men to enlist.
We've now been through six lecture sessions. Some lectures were more traditional, some more loose. Some were on pretty technical topics. Some abstract. But with each, the students were locked in. It's a powerful example of what motivation, culture-building, curiosity, and preparation can make possible in the classroom.