Notes and Discussion Questions:
Gregory: Do we teach students?
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?
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?
I wanted to include the chapter particularly because of the emphasis on learning
theory, which we otherwise will study only tangentially 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 Eble's belief and think 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). Which attitudes seem most important
to you and why?
Wadewitz and Stinson, "Crowdsourcing Historiography: The Shape of Historical Uncertainty and Multiplicity on Wikipedia"
This article is forthcoming in a digital humanities journal. I was given the draft by Stinson and heard him speak about the article at a recent
Wikipedia edit-a-thon I attended at the ASECS meeting in Los Angeles March 2015.
Although the article addresses historiographical knowledge on Wikipedia, the information it provides and the implications it raises
are relevant to us as teachers of literature. Why is Wikipedia a significant source of knowledge that we need to address?
What conclusions do Stinson and Wadewitz reach about the state of historiographical practice in Wikipedia? What are the
implications of the lack they identify? How might this relate to literary knowledge production in Wikipedia?
At the end of the article, the authors suggest that increased involvement by subject experts in academia might begin to change the state
of historiographical knowledge (and perhaps we can say humanistic knowledge for the sake of argument). Do you think that
introducting Wikipedia writing / editing into the literature classroom might have positive effects on the production of humanistic knowledge?
Why or why not?
Active learning and discussion
Assignment: Practical on Editions