The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Unusual teaching methods connect instructor, students

NW instructor Adrian Cook may have unusual methods, but his approach and philosophy are welcome by students.  Photo by Carrie Duke / The Collegian
NW instructor Adrian Cook may have unusual methods, but his approach and philosophy are welcome by students. Photo by Carrie Duke / The Collegian

By Rhiannon Saegert / NW News Editor

Sometimes, the best way to teach a class is to serenade the students with a washboard.

Humanities instructor, Cornerstone sponsor, co-sponsor of Scholars in Waiting Affirming Genius and hillbilly-hip-hop musician Adrian Cook may have unusual methods, but his approach and philosophy are welcomed by students.

Cook’s cohort, humanities and dance instructor Kim Jackson, is also a firm believer in unorthodox teaching methods. The two co-teach HUMA 1315, a Cornerstone art appreciation course, and often integrate music and dance into the lessons.

“We really feed off each other and how we present our scholarship and how we present to students,” Cook said.

The song-and-dance numbers aren’t meant just to entertain. Tying performance in with the class encourages students to express themselves without fear.

“He’s someone that I’d say takes the opportunity for full artistic expression without judgment. That’s what I like about him,” student Tiffany Duncan said.

“He speaks to students on their level. He doesn’t separate teacher from student. He doesn’t talk down to us. I’d say instead of talking at us, he talks to us.”

Student Samuel Cook said Adrian Cook spoke to him as a fellow musician rather than as a student.

“I play the drums, so I could connect with him on that level,” Samuel Cook said.

The student described a “personality experiment” the class once tried.

People tried to create a persona they felt was their polar opposite by dressing differently, including the instructor.

“He came as a hillbilly, his performance side he doesn’t always want to mention,” Samuel Cook said. “They mentioned they sometimes get in trouble for their unorthodox methods in class, but I’m a testament to the fact that their style of teaching is effective.”

Adrian Cook knows students often sign up for his course knowing nothing about it besides the fact they must take it.

“When I ask, ‘What do you think this class is about?’ it is really shocking. Maybe 50 percent have an opinion, but most don’t know,” he said.

This attitude is prevalent, but Adrian Cook’s goal as a professor is to make them see the class, and by extension their other classes, as more than a means to an end.

“We really want to be innovative,” he said. “We really want humanities to be this sort of hub. You know, your English classes, entry-level math classes, these are considered ‘gateway’ courses. Our goal is to make humanities the gateway for students to become really invested in what‘s important for them to explore and get them looking at how scholarship doesn’t just get them a grade but really benefits them as a person.”

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian