Re-thinking Instruction

Today I re-read our first article, “How Do They Conduct Class?” I was struck by this article even more than last semester, and spent a long time considering its implications. I was struck by how daring and innovative the professors in the article appear to be. They risk total silence, student abandonment and confusion, and more. They risk all this because they are not overly concerned with their “performance,” though they do give consideration to how they behave in front of a class. They risk all this because they are student-focused. What will engage the students? What creates curiosity or even basic attentiveness?

What I found, when re-reading this article, is that I am very attached to playing it safe. I explain the topics to my own satisfaction, rarely considering whether the student is interested in what I have to say. This semester, I want to make my students critically think about research. What makes searching the online catalog so difficult? I would like to explain this is terms of everyday activities to the students. I want to explain the concepts we are teaching in terms the students can understand, then build on that simple knowledge base to construct something more complex. I want to create a narrative that is engaging. These are tall tasks, but I feel it is time to risk more in the classroom.

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