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Dr. Laura L. Runge
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LAE 6389 Practice Teaching Literature


Class 2: Why Teach Literature? Getting Started


Nicole McHam from Pearson- presentation on anthologies: Lunch

Exchange anthologies

Reading Assignment:

Marshall Gregory, "Do We Teach Disciplines or Do We Teach Students? What Difference Does It Make?" in Profession 2008: 117-129.
Showalter, chaps. 1-2
McKeachie, chaps. 1-2
Assignment: Practical on Editions
sign up for Syllabus and Teaching Resource presentations -- on WIKI
Discuss choice of literary work
Post #1

Class Objectives:

    Exchange Anthologies
    Discussion -- Gregory, Showalter, McKeachie
    Discuss editions
    Sign up for Syllabus and literature review presentations -- on WIKI

Notes and Discussion Questions:

Gregory claims: "The single most difficult notion for graduate students and new professors to grasp about teaching -- and, indeed, many experienced teachers never grasp this point either -- is that successful teaching to undergraduates has little to do with the degree of one's mastery of disciplinary knowledge" (118). How might you respond to this?

"When undergraduate teaching works, it works because the disciplinary material we teach -- the same material that inevitably gets forgotten -- endures a better fate than getting remembered.... Knowledge that gets absorbed shows up not as knowledge but as features of mind and character that are much more valuable than mere information"(119-20). How is being absorbed different from being remembered? Why might it be better? How might this be achieved?

Can the literature you teach create ethos? If so, how?

How do you answer the question: What do you teach?

How does Gregory answer the question and why, according to him, is it significant?

What can you take away from Gregory's essay that is helpful for the new instructor of literature?

Showalter lists seven sources of anxiety in teaching: lack of training, isolation, teaching versus research, coverage, performance, grading, student evaluations. Which of these, if any, can you relate to? Why or why not?

In her chapter discussing theories of teaching, Showalter asks the question: Why do we teach literature? A big, messy and wonderful question! Perhaps any class on teaching literature should address this at the start. Why do you [want to] teach literature?

Evaluate the objectives she lists for teaching literature on page 26.

What is your teaching persona? Think of a "telling moment" in the classroom that reveals to us (and your students) your teaching persona and be willing (please) to share this in class. What kind of teacher are you? What kind of teacher do you want to be?

Does your teaching self correspond to your teaching theory? And that means ....

After reading these introductory chapters on teaching, what areas of teaching strike you as most important for our class? Methods? Theories? Classroom management? Grading? Problems? Preparation? Housekeeping? Your teaching development? Others? Brainstorm and let's discuss the emphases we can take.

In McKeachie, please review his "philosophy" of teaching (pp. 5-6) and evaluate.

McKeachie provides an orderly "to do" list for course preparation. How does this strike you? Will this be doable? Or do parts of this seem difficult?

How helpful is his advice on preparing your syllabus?

Also note the bibliography and list of references in both works. Put an asterisk next to ones that might be worth looking at for your resource review assignment.

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Active learning and discussion

Assignment: Practical on Editions
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