Jesse Ball: Notes on My Dunce Cap

A text for teachers who want to reconsider hierarchy in their classrooms and for those curious about education as a context for creativity and collaboration. Drawn from Ball’s experiences teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Notes on my Dunce Cap includes advisory material regarding the role of the teacher, the creation of syllabi, and the manner in which groups may evaluate the work of an individual without harm. Alongside these notes that reflect on his teaching practice, sample SAIC syllabi create contexts in which students develop habits that become the basis for a writing practice. Reading lists cover topics such as child protagonists, the dérive, and fairytales, and classroom procedures encourage students to lucid dream, take long walks without cellphones, and participate in the Franz Kafka Fancier Society of Chicago. Ball describes dynamic ways to ask questions, facilitate discussion, organize exhibitions, and incorporate theatrical elements to draw the most out of students and teachers alike. Ball shakes up classroom habits and breathes new life into reading, questioning, teaching, and learning.