one of those posts which will piss off everyone (except my Mum)

This is actually a self-congratulatory, "oh look how brilliant I sometimes am" post.

I just had an email from a former student from my Introduction to International Relations Research course from last semester. This student is currently in China (along with another of my students) for a semester abroad programme and he wrote an absolutely lovely email about how useful my class had been, how he had enjoyed actually doing research in my class and how some of the ethical issues we had grappled with had come up in the course of his current research. He gave examples of how the research tips we had talked about in class are helping him now.

Since I've spent a lot of time this semester agonising about whether how I am teaching my students World Politics is actually helping them*, this was a great email to get right now.

It's a few weeks to Thanksgiving, but I feel I can't take all of the credit for this. So, yes, thanks to Weberman and Prof P whom I nicked my syllabus from and to all those who had to listen to my stories about my class.

It's also one of those "oh so this is why I do what I do" moments and, yes, it feels fantastic.

* Especially in view of a recent conversation in which I was told that to expect "them" to have "sophisticated views" is to expect too much of them. "What do they know?" was the question I was asked. My response at that time was silence. Now, I'd say it doesn't matter what "they" know--it's more important to see what "we" can figure out in the course of a 75-minute class session.

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