The best part of the morning, however, was one short conversation that developed after discussing logical fallacies, reasoning, and intellectual honesty both in student writing, and in reading as well. For once, everyone seemed to be in agreement: these are ideas which are 1) really worth teaching 2) not taught nearly enough by the department and 3) maybe should replace some of the time spend on reading works of fiction in our classes. As much as we like teaching the classics, maybe it would be better to spend a lot more time teaching students to consume and create logical, clear, intellectually honest arguments over and over and over again. Our speaker today noted that getting students to be well-informed voters, consumers, and adults could be a big step in "changing the world"...so maybe it should be the focus, rather than the novels.
As with all PD, it'll be interesting if this carries over into practice. As our curriculum talks begin to get really-real, perhaps some of these ideas will begin to take root for next year's courses. Perhaps teaching the truth is much more interesting than fiction.