July 26, 2008, 12:46 pm
From a 2004 review by George Leef of Patrick Allitt’s book I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student:
[M]atters might improve considerably if the rest of the faculty were also fighting against the student aversion to reading, but few of them probably are. Allitt doesn’t say much about his colleagues, but I suspect he knows that many of them have given in to what Murray Sperber calls the faculty/student non-aggression pact: Students get light assignments and good grades in return for expecting little instructional effort from their professors. Allitt’s willingness to stay and fight when much of the rest of the faculty has surrendered is commendable, but if only a small number of professors insist that students read and understand, the college experience is just the skeletal remains of its former self.
The bolded passage is a dead-on appropriate term for much of what goes on under the guise …
June 16, 2008, 4:03 pm
I’m looking back over my statements of teaching philosophy from 2001 (when I was searching for my current job), 2002, and 2003 and then comparing them with the new and improved one. I’m noticing that, back in 2001-2003, my teaching “philosophy” was more of a laundry list of pedagogical techniques that I engage myself in when teaching. “I use lots of active learning.” “I measure my students’ progress using a variety of assessment techniques.” “I am a firm believer in the use of computer technology in mathematics courses.” And so on.
Whereas, now, my focus is much more on the big picture — on what makes me who I am as a teacher, what makes me tick, what you will find in any instance of my teaching, regardless of technique or technology used, as well as what goes on behind my teaching. I am saying, “Here’s what drives me. Here are my core beliefs about education, teaching, students, and…
June 2, 2008, 1:16 pm
I’m working on updating some of my professional documents, including my curriculum vitae and my Statement of Teaching Philosophy (SOTP). Both of these are badly out of date; I don’t think I’ve touched either one since I was up for tenure in 2005. That’s too bad, especially the SOTP; it seems like professors ought to be constantly re-examining their core philosophies behind teaching and having a critical look at what really characterizes what they do in the classroom.
The new SOTP is absorbing some flavor of recent developments in my personal life on the faith front. Since joining the Lutheran church, I’ve become more exposed to — and more appreciative of — the concept of holding paradoxical pairs of ideas in tension with each other and having a real truth emerge out of the dialectic between the two. In Lutheran theology, for example, we have the idea of simul justus et peccator — the…
January 9, 2008, 12:51 pm
I completely missed College Chronicles, a “blog-based reality series that follows real students attempting to overhaul their study habits”, until the first of three wrap-up episodes posted today at Study Hacks. That episode checks in with Leena, a student at MIT, who had a successful semester academically after some initial troubles.
The changes she made which had the biggest impact on her success?
- The act of realistically plotting out when I was going to do things and how much time they would take.
- GOING TO CLASS. It makes life so much easier.
- Studying early enough to ask my questions at office hours.
- Doing homework in office hours.
- Not going back to my room until I absolutely had to.
Although Leena is probably studying rocket science at MIT, note that her keys to success in college are not rocket science: managing time responsibly, going to class, not procrastinating with…
December 6, 2007, 8:29 am
The comment on yesterday’s post from Matt, an undergrad in math and computer science at Carnegie-Mellon and blogger at Relatively Speaking, reminded me of just how much I appreciate blogs written by students. As a professor, my job on the “micro” scale is to design and teach mathematics courses and do stuff to help the college operate. But my vocation on the “macro” scale is to help students to think well and to chart their course through life. I like to think that blogging is an extension of that vocation beyond my everyday campus role, and it always excites me to be able to interact with students like Matt who are working hard at the business of learning.
So I’d like to ask any student blogger — especially undergraduates but also high school/homeschool students and graduate students — who is actively maintaining a blog that seriously reflects on their studies and their lives to…