Thoughts on teaching

About how I teach

from Doctorating

Though we all have to teach the “same” course in terms of the structure of the writing assignments and learning objectives, the content is up to us….

Since the learning objectives are about arguing and writing, I want them to argue and write about things that they’ll find . . . well, fun.

In class, I’m fully invested, not only mentally, but bodily. I flail a bit more than I should, shout for emphasis, and generally run about the room like a maniac when it will make a point. In my class I have no shame and the kids know it. If I can embarrass myself a bit, they might be less afraid of embarrassing themselves.

…I always come to class early and talk to the students as they come in.

Questions
I am looking for good questions to improve my teaching… What are some good questions?

Describe one very specific lesson from the … classroom that you’ll never forget. Give us concrete details. Tell us not only what it taught you, but also how and why it worked.

This question is from A personal inquiry into the scholarship of teaching by Mike Arnzen.

Learning, for teachers

Entity and incremental theories of intelligence:

Entity theorists are those who say “I am smart at this.”

Incremental theorists are more prone to say “I got this because I worked hard at it.”

Incremental theorists are more likely to be able to use their abilities across many diverse fields.
Students who believe they can learn things if they try, as opposed to being naturally gifted, are more likely to succeed across multiple fields.

So how can we as teachers help make our students incremental learners?

Give process-oriented feedback.

“Good job! You are really becoming a _____. Keep up the good work.”

“Study a little harder for the next one and you’ll do well. Ask any questions you need to.”

We can help our students change their patterns by giving them process-oriented feedback.

When you’re through learning, you’re through.

Reading in education

Pew Research on teens and writing technology. It includes
47% of black teens write in a journal, compared with 31% of white teens.
37% of black teens write music or lyrics, while 23% of white teens do.
49% of girls keep a journal; 20% of boys do.
26% of boys say they never write for personal enjoyment outside of school.

Weblogs in the Writing Classroom

Blogs in plain English

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