The article by Tom Porter linked above describes my use of a role-playing methodology called Reacting to the Past. Reacting to the Past (RTTP) is a radically new methodology of immersing students in historical events. In RTTP games, students begin by studying relevant historical documents, religious texts, and other primary sources before proceeding to the role-playing game itself. For example, in India on the Eve of Independence, 1945, students are assigned roles of historical characters, including Gandhi, Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar, representatives of Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Sikh leadership, Hindu Mahasabha, Nizam of Hyderabad, Maharaja of Kashmir, and rural village leaders. Their goal is to determine the future of India and create a constitution for their new state. RTTP appeals to students’ innate competitiveness and teaches them to research their arguments, engage in debate, achieve compromises, and, perhaps most importantly, to empathize with and understand opinions that may be completely different from their own—skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Reacting to the Past unleashes students’ creativity and resourcefulness and affects deep lasting learning that they will remember long after college. But students are not the only ones to enjoy Reacting games. The camaraderie of the Reacting faculty community during the annual conferences and on the RTTP Facebook Faculty Lounge is quite remarkable. The Facebook page is a fantastic resource where faculty share ideas and chat in real time about behind-the-scenes machinations of the characters played by our students. Reacting is a great exemplar of my motto: Learning should be fun!
The second link contains an extract from the graduate student newsletter in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell. In this issue, which featured Sanskrit teaching and learning, I muse on the joys and challenges of teaching Sanskrit, while a former MA (and now PhD) student, Qilin Yang, talks about her learning experiences in my courses.
Finally, I include an article from the Cornell Chronicle, which featured Cornell Graduate Writing Groups. This program for graduate students and post-docs, which I went on to co-facilitate, offered motivation, accountability, encouragement, and community to students engaged in dissertation writing and other significant writing projects. Just during the summer semester of 2016, the groups I managed held 61 meetings for a total of 195 hours. As a co-facilitator, I collaborated with the English Language Support Office, the Graduate School’s Office of Student Life and Office of Academic Affairs and Programs, the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, and Mann Library.