Tag Archives: pedagogy

Teaching Art: “Let me describe it to you”

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we’ve been watching one of The Learning Company’s ‘Great Courses,’ The History of European Art. In the comments thread, I noted that the lecturer’s favorite move is to “describe” an artwork to us. At first glance (so to speak!) that seems an odd strategy: we’re looking right at […]

This Week In My Classes: Sitting Around Admiring Significant Texts

This week in my classes, which are traditional English classes rather than warm and fuzzy creative writing classes, I am burdening students with historical background, wrapping ideas in grad-school jargon, and generally obscuring the pleasures of reading and the power of literature. No, really! OK, not really, but if you believe this recent encomium on the […]

This Week in My Classes: Anger and Passivity

Andrea Kaston Tange’s post on ‘the chastising professor‘ at Curiouser and Curiouser was timely: on the very day it went up, I had started my intro class with a brief rant pep talk about last week’s disappointing attendance and lackluster participation. It was a subdued occasion: no hissy fits, I promise! My intervention was very much […]

This Week In My Classes: Information and Education

We’re starting new books in both of my classes this week (well, weather permitting, we are, anyway!): The Road in Introduction to Literature and Cranford in 19th-Century Fiction. What makes this a particularly exciting but also daunting prospect for me is that they aren’t just the next books on our syllabus but they are also […]

This Week In My Classes: Wrapping Up

The last ten days or so have been all about evaluating the final assignments for my two fall-term classes, Mystery and Detective Fiction and The Somerville Novelists. The students in my Intro to Literature class wrote a last essay for the term too, but that came in earlier and so I was able to turn […]

This Week in My Classes: Amidst the Mess, Three Mysterious Morsels

The past week or so has just felt crazy with tasks and details to keep on top of. When we’re planning courses, we (or maybe it’s just me?) tend to focus on big picture issues, like which books to assign and which assignment sequences to use. Once that’s all decided, there’s filling in the syllabus, […]

This Month in My Sabbatical: It’s Over!

Six months ago, I posted the first in a series of updates on my progress (if that’s what it was) through my winter-term sabbatical. As of July 1, I’m back on regular duties. Though in some ways, unless you’re doing summer teaching (which I am not, this year), July and August have a lot in […]

Another Year of Blogging My Teaching

My annual series of posts on ‘This Week in My Classes‘ has come to an end, once again, with the end–not of term, since I won’t file my grades and move on until the 125 exams coming in later this week are marked–but of class meetings. So it’s time again to reflect on what it […]

Workday Miscellany: Ph.D. Problems, Institutional Inertia, Graduate Teaching, and the Yoke of Marriage

I’m feeling a bit scattered this week. Here are some of the things buzzing around in my head. 1. It’s hard not to want to say something about Louis Menand’s much-linked-to post on “the PhD problem,” but what? Readers of this blog will not be surprised that I nodded emphatically at this statement: The non-academic […]

Reflections on Blogging My Teaching

I began my series of posts on ‘This Week in My Classes‘ back in September, in response to what I felt were inaccurate and unfair representations of what English professors are up to in their teaching. As I said then, I don’t suppose that my own classroom is either wholly typical or exemplary, but I […]

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