Why I am taking classes to learn how to teach

By maguire. Filed in Uncategorized  |  
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The following article from The Chronicle sums it all up.

http://chronicle.com/article/Harvard-Seeks-to-Jolt/130683/

One part I found interesting was that professors must become “doubly expert” with respect to their pedagogy and research field. Additionally, they imply that those professors who do achieve this should help those around them. Of course this sounds good, but in my experience professors DO NOT want to change. If what they do works, they feel there is no reason to chagne. In fact, they fear this change.

This is one huge advantage of classes who’s topics are pedagogy in hire education (such as GRAD 5114/GEDI and Engineering Education courses). If change cannot happen through one or two “double experts” in a department, then it must begin through new hires, such as myself 😉 . I have already taught three semesters and have used many “new” techniques that differ from those I was exposed to as an undergrad (predominately chalk and talk). These techniques are often well accepted by students and I have great reviews with many students commenting that they enjoy the different styles and feel they have learned better/more from them. If for no other reason, professors should adopt these techniques to get better reviews!

I do not truly feel Harvard spending $40 million on this conference will really do much in the long run, but it is important to discuss higher education and Harvard is a well respected institution that many seem to desire to emulate. Identifying/admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting better. This problem has been identified long ago, but many are still in denial or a state of apathy regarding poor teaching.

I feel the only way to really make teaching in higher education better is to have faculty with limited research requirements OR completely decouple research and teaching. Until this happens, research will dominate for a variety of reasons. But, that is a blog for another day.

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