Since last month, I’ve been teaching in Social Anthropology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. (The website still needs updating, so you can’t find my name on it yet.) There’s a lot to say about this new and very intriguing teaching context — the first thing being that university politics are a very live issue, and so there’s a lot for me to learn, given my work.
Since I’ve been teaching large lectures for the first time, I’ve had to think about grading in a new and larger-scale way. It’s different to teach 150 students than to teach 24 students. And in particular, I’ve been especially frustrated this week by how some of the traditional grading criteria — stylistic and textual evaluations of students’ writing — map too neatly onto sociological divides (race, class, native language, cultural capital). Different grading criteria are in order, ones that aren’t proxies for social origins.