Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teaching Tip #14

Always work ahead. Remind students of the semester schedule frequently. Post it on the board when you come in. Post an agenda of the class' activities for that day on the board, too. This assumes getting to class early, another tip.

I went to observe a colleague, who was kind enough to let me do so to see his/her technique for teaching literature to freshman. But he/she was ten minutes late to class. I have to say I was appalled. I am always five to ten minutes early, getting the technology set up, taking roll, being able to deal with students ahead of time.

It is said C.S. Lewis would lecture this way: he entered the door, right on time, started to talk at the door, still taking off his coat, and put on his coat and continued lecturing as he walked out the door. Far be it from me to criticize Lewis, obviously a brilliant man. But that's not good pedagogy in the 21st century.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Teaching Tip #13

"Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape."

Hello, my name is Barbara, and I have been an inflexible teacher/instructor.

Seriously, there is great power in flexibility. If we focus on less is more, we have the time to be flexible--not to waste time, but to take time with students. I have so often been frustrated with students for slowing me down. Who was I to be that way?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Teaching Tip #12

Be flexible. Less is more. Unless you are teaching a class for some sort of certification, focus on clear objectives as opposed to what you might think is important.

This is tricky. I am afraid the days of pure academic freedom are over. Too many SACS (or other accrediting bodies) or state or professional regulations. Too many prerequisite requirements. So we have to forgo what we might like to teach to be "outcome" centered. Oh, well.

Teaching Tip #11

Admit when you are wrong. Nobody made you infallible because you earned a graduate degree.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Teaching Tip #10

Instead of letting your students out early, give them a day off. A lot of faculty members cut it short ten minutes early. Why do that? The students are already there, have had to get up and use the gas. They really like a day off.

Of course, this means that the whole class time is not being used anyway, which is not a good thing.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I couldn't say it better myself This blog has a pitch perfect essay on male and female teachers and expectations. I felt like I had written it myself.

Teaching Tip Number 9

It's a very good idea to periodically ask students for informal feedback. It's better, probably if it's anonymous; however, I personally think people should own their opinions and views rather than sniping from behind anonymity. Linda Nilson suggests the students answer these simple questions: What should I stop doing? What should I start doing? What should I continue doing? ... to help you learn better in this class.