Last week, the Teaching Tips focused on the topic of reflection and preparing to build off lessons from this semester. This week, the Teaching Tips do their own reflective work, as this will be the last set of tips of the year. I hope those of you who are still opening newsletters in your inbox at this point in the year will indulge me with this bit of reflection on the work that we do. If you’re still with me, then this week we look at the importance of scholarship of teaching and learning and gaining new perspectives on pedagogy:
What’s the problem? One of the seminal works in the scholarship of teaching and learning is Randy Bass’ “The Scholarship of Teaching: What’s the Problem?” Written back in 1999, Bass’ work gave direction to a young field by focusing on the problem with thinking about “problems” in the scholarship of teaching. Usually, academics embrace problems and build careers around them, but we often take the opposite approach to problems related to our teaching. Now, of course, there are many reasons for that — historical, institutional, interpersonal — but Bass’ article serves as an invitation to overcome those challenges and embrace the turn of our keen, inquiring gaze upon our own teaching and student learning as a practice that will benefit us all. I highly recommend that you take some time to read Bass’ article, which is quite brief.
Teaching as an ongoing process. A central tenet underlying Bass’ thinking (and that of like-minded peers) is that teaching is not a discrete act, but an ongoing process. When we embrace the idea of problems emerging through our teaching, we celebrate that ongoing process as one motivated by inquiry. The scholarship of teaching and learning exists because of academics for whom teaching problems are a welcome challenge to be considered, investigated, and reconsidered. Of course, engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning is another demand on limited time — a demand with often insufficient extrinsic rewards — but it is a necessary demand for the process of teaching.
New ways of listening to student voices. One of the most exciting ways of engaging in inquiry related to one’s own teaching is finding new ways to listen to student voices as a part of the process of teaching. It takes some practice and comes with false-starts, but students embrace the opportunity to share more of themselves and their approach to learning with us. Over the past few years, the teaching tips have often suggested some simple approaches to practices like midterm student feedback, but the possibilities for listening to your students are plentiful. Student learning does not happen without student engagement, and so I encourage you, as you move forward in your own ongoing process of teaching, to seek out new ways of listening to student voices.
Check out more here: Past Teaching Tips
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This semester, we add some tips from UNCG Libraries to our regularly scheduled programming! These tips are designed to help you better use the resources available through the libraries to achieve your teaching and learning goals. Did you know that UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has an extensive online World War I Pamphlet Collection? As this month is the 101st anniversary of the United States’ involvement in the Great War, we would like to bring this collection to the forefront! These pamphlets were issued by governments of US allies and contain information ranging from first-hand accounts of wartime conditions, battle maps, photographs, and brochures that involve soldiers’ postwar rehabilitation efforts. These online primary sources are well suited for class projects that involve the history of World War I, government efforts to sway public opinion on the homefront to support the war, and the psychology of conflict. Please contact SCUA if you would like further information about how to incorporate this wonderful collection into your class curriculum.