Michael Cole

5th Dimension Site Director

Professor, UC San Diego

    The key thing that I want students to learn is how to connect up the academic writing, the theory, that they get in their courses, with their actual experience when they're working with the kids at the site. And unlike a lot of other courses, where students will come up to me and say, “Are we responsible for stuff before the midterm?”  When it's finals time, in this class, I tell people right up front that what you’re doing here is you have to view the concepts in your reading as tools, and so we're creating a toolkit.  You take the tools out, you try them out.  You may see that some of the tools don't work for you.  Throw them away.  Others of the tools you may come to change or modify in some way.  And some of the tools you'll find pretty ready to hand and ready to go.  And the bigger your tool chest, probably the better the work you'll be able to do.  I think the classes here work for the professors and the students because it demystifies academic discourse for the students and they begin to realize that “Hey, there is a connection between what I do in school and at least something our there in the real world.” And I take that to be its highest educational value for the students.