The study of masculinity in American popular culture was an unexpected and difficult topic for students. Unfamiliar with the study of gender, critical writing and academic writing, my design of this course attempted to facilitate opportunities to practice these elements until they became familiar.
Since the content was often challenging and theoretical in nature, I gave students the opportunity to keep a reading journal rather than construct formal annotations or responses. Though the end product often touched on the more formal elements of the pieces, the less formal mode helped students maintain an air of curiosity rather than search for correct answers.
I also had students tackle these difficult readings together. A majority of the course readings were student facilitation for the class, encouraging critical reading practices, the distillation of the argument, but also an active engagement with the material and their peers. I met with presenters in advance of their presentation and helped them understand the text and develop ways to present the material.