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LAE 6389 Practice Teaching Literature

Class 12: Teaching Philosophy

Reading Assignment:

    Showalter, ch 8
    Eble, chapter 16 The Craft of Teaching in course docs.
    Mary Rose O'Reilly, selections from Radical Presence in course docs.
    Student Presentation: Teaching Resource: Tangela
    Student Presentation: Syllabus Check: Dana and Cassie
    Assignment: Statement of Teaching Philosophy
    Post #6 Groups A and B

Notes and Discussion Questions:

Showalter: Teaching Teachers (Chapter 8)

In many ways, this chapter is about our class, and we might use it to reflect on what we are doing here and how effective it is. What ideas does this chapter suggest for your training as a literature teacher?

Evaluate the three developmental stages of new teachers mentioned on p. 113. How do these categories sound to you? Are they helpful for understanding your own experience?

Choose any one of the case studies from Showalter's seminar (pp. 117-124) and analyze it. Try to answer the questions she asks at the end of that subsection.

Eble: Preparing College Teachers (Chapter 16)

Writing originally in the 1970s, Kenneth Eble's important book presents us with the argument that breadth (rather than specialization) is essential for college teaching. Why? To what extent do you agree with his assessment? What questions does it raise for you?

Given that many of the authors we have read this semester take up different aspects of Eble's ideas, what value does this chapter have for you?

I wanted to include the chapter particularly because of the emphasis on learning theory, which we otherwise have only tangentially studied through McKeachie. Evaluate the main principles with empirical support that he provides on pages 202-203. How might these influence the way you teach literature?

I share this and believe it is key to successful teaching, though it can be difficult when you are nervous, defensive and beginning to teach: "Let me address myself directly to some of the attitudes I hope beginning teachers will bring to teaching, whatever the content and quality of their graduate work. The first is generosity. aristotle made much of thwat is commonly translated as magnanimity, the sufficienty of person or possessions that makes generosity possible" (207). The other attitudes he recommends may sound familiar from other resources. Which attitudes seem most important to you and why?


I've excerpted a short suggestive piece from a short book called Radical Presence, a book that is embraced by the movement in contemplative pedagogy. I offer this as a way to end on a feel-good note. Let me know what you think of it.

Part of our class will involve reviewing a statement of teaching philosophy. I distinguish between the statement of methodology and the statement of philosophy in the following way: the statement of methodology is "what you do in the classroom" and the philosophy is "why you do it." Or, to borrow a fellow student's phrase from an earlier class, the first is your deep bag of tricks, whereas the statement of teaching philosophy should be a concise abstract of your personal rationale for teaching.


Active learning and discussion

Teaching Philosophy

Today's exercise is explained on the above link.

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