Reflection on The Courage to Teach

While I was reading this article I couldn’t help comparing and contrasting it to the “How do they Conduct Class” article. While that article didn’t definitively claim that one method of teaching (lectures, group discussions, etc.) was the right way of doing things, it was more specifically concerned with methods and techniques. This article is more about what it means to be a teacher than it is about how to teach; the central premise of it is that “good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”

I took a number of different things from both of these articles. I wouldn’t say that teaching methods and techniques are unimportant, or that working on improving your instruction style is unnecessary (and I don’t think that’s what the author of this article is trying to say). I’ve had some teachers that seemed to love what they were doing and were very enthusiastic about teaching that, for a variety of reasons, I didn’t consider to be especially great instructors. On the other hand, I agreed with the general premise of this article. To be a good teacher it seems like you would have to have a strong sense of identity as an instructor, a willingness to put yourself out there so to speak (the article spends a good bit of time discussing a teacher’s vulnerability in class), and an interest in working with students to help them develop intellectually (instead of simply trying to show them how knowledgeable you are).

One thought on “Reflection on The Courage to Teach

  1. Alex, I think these articles pair really well together. And you’re right,all three of the things that you’ve highlighted here are incredibly important. You should take some time to think about how this applies to you personally. How are you going to go about synthesizing identity, vulnerability and an interest in helping students develop?

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