I have written a bit on the idea of the Backward Syllabus on this site, and how I believe that a syllabus is something that evolves over the course of a semester vs being cast in stone at the start of a term.
To that end, I thought people might be interested in seeing that yes indeed, this semester, GASP!, I seem to have a syllabus (el programa de estudios) for my course. It seems to have a structure and an order to it. In fact, aside from a lot of blank spaces it seems to be quite traditional and teacher-centric.
Until you look at the back-end.
Here is a snapshot just a few of the changes I have made to el programa page since the course began. Many of these changes stem from eruptions in current events, the unexpected arrival of guest speakers, and the need to speed up or slow down the pace of the course based upon the students’ interests.
So yes, it is possible to have a road map, to have a guide… In fact it is quite necessary to know where you want to end up at the end of any course. But that doesn’t mean you have to take the 4 lane super highways to get to your destination. Being open to the possibility of taking an off road adventure now and again, or stopping altogether and checking out the scenic overlooks, I believe, makes for more interesting excursions. And better classroom teaching.