Thursday, August 3, 2006

Teaching Carnival!

At any given time I can think of a handful of reasons to doubt an academic career, but teaching is never amongst them. It's one of the few things in life I've really wanted to be good at, mostly because my teachers, for better and worse, have been extremely influential socialising and enculturating forces in my life. The best ones are my real heroes, influencing and inspiring me every day, and the worst are recorded in a notebook I've kept for the past thirteen years. Weird obsessive-compulsive, I know, but pretty damn useful as a way to teach myself to be a better teacher.

Still, in my experience the best way to get stronger is to play with stronger players, and the online version of this for me is the Teaching Carnival, a bi-weekly collection of blog posts "related to teaching in higher education." I think that description sounds far too dull for posts that made me laugh so hard I snorted tea out my nose, posts that made me yell at the screen, posts that changed the way I think and do, but there you go. I read every single post last year and promised myself that this year I would be an active contributor.

September 1st is the first carnival for the 06/07 academic year - and it's being hosted at WorkBook. Any and all topics are welcome, but in his call for carnies George has also come up with a list of possible topics to get us started:

  1. What are you doing differently this year compared to last year? Why?
  2. What kind of preparation for teaching did you get in grad school? Was it adequate? What should have been done differently? How are you preparing the next generation of grad students for the classroom? How does the way you were taught affect the way you teach?
  3. What sorts of innovative writing assignments are you using? I am particularly interested in disciplines other than English, since I believe that writing should be a part of almost all courses. How do you evaluate your students' writing? Do you use a rubric?
  4. Are your students engaged in service learning? What kinds of connections between the classroom and the community are you making?
  5. How does information technology figure into your teaching?

As my mind melts in the crazy hot and humid weather, these are quite helpful... I did change some things for the second-year STS class... To get in on the first carnival, be sure to email George (georgehwilliams at gmail dot com) with your nominations and/or tag your own by the end of the month. And, of course, past carnivals continue to be great reads.


Blogger institute.of.zombie.studies said...

If it means anything at all, it is you who inspired me to begin the institute for zombie studies. I believe you will be impressed by the end result (yes it acctually is building towards something).

Anonymous anne said...

thank you, yes, it does - i *love* zombies! and if this is the kevin i think it is, then it means even more and i'll undoubtedly be impressed. looking forward to reading more either way.


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