Two Super Articles About College Teaching

Here is an email that I sent to the faculty of my school (the Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond) this morning as we all get ready for a new school year.   Time to get excited about the upcoming challenge.


Greetings -- welcome back for another bright and sunny school year.    Possibly because I am so lost in the classroom, people send me articles about teaching that they have found worthwhile.   I received two within the last 48 hours.   I thought they were both great.   They got me back into thinking about how I might teach my classes better in the upcoming year.   I started getting excited about the opening day of class.  

I might even send these articles to my students.   I find it helpful if students realize that there is some justification to all the weird things I do in class.   (I seem less eccentric to them.)

The first article comes from a buddy of mine in New Jersey who thinks almost as obsessively about teaching as I do.    This article reminds me of my favorite quote about teaching (from the book "What the Best College Teachers Do" by Dr. Ken Bain).   A well-known professor is talking about how he teaches and he talks about puzzling the students:   “Those puzzles and knots generate questions for students, he went on to say, and then you begin to help them untie the knots.”   What a brilliant description of teaching in college:   puzzle the students and then help them solve those puzzles.

Here is the URL for the article I received from New Jersey.

http://chronicle.com/article/Confuse-Students-to-Help-Them/148385/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

The second article comes from Shital Thekdi who was kind enough to share it with me.    Here is my favorite quote from this one:   "I myself became a decent teacher only when I started to relinquish some control over the classroom―stopped worrying so much about “getting my points across” and recognized that those moments of disorder that would sometimes occur, those spontaneous outbreaks of intelligence, were the most interesting parts of the class, for both my students and myself. We were going somewhere new, and we were going there together."

And the URL is:  

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/08/the_best_teachers_and_professors_resemble_parental_figures_they_provide.html


Have a great new school year!!!!   Since I am currently sitting with coffee in hand at a table near Charleston, I will leave you with another of my favorite quotes about teaching.   This comes from the book "Prince of Tides" which is set in this area of the low country of South Carolina.   It is about Tom and Savannah Wingo who are twins:  

“She took my hand and squeezed it.   ‘You sold yourself short.   You could’ve been more than a teacher and a coach.’  I returned the squeeze and said, ‘Listen to me, Savannah.  There’s no word in the language I revere more than teacher.  None.   My heart sings when a kid refers to be as his teacher and it always has. -- I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming one.”

**
Later -- after I posted this blog entry, another colleague forwarded yet another fascinating teaching article.   So, here's a third super article for your consideration:

http://www.vox.com/2014/6/4/5776804/note-taking-by-hand-versus-laptop?utm_

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