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Dr. Laura L. Runge
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LAE 6389 Practice Teaching Literature


Class 2: Getting Started

    Marshall Gregory, "Do We Teach Disciplines or Do We Teach Students? What Difference Does It Make?" in Profession 2008: 117-129. (course docs)

    Eble, chapter 16 The Craft of Teaching (course docs)

    Wadewitz and Stinson, "Crowdsourcing Historiography: The Shape of Historical Uncertainty and Multiplicity on Wikipedia" (course docs)
    Complete Wikipedia introduction

    Due: Assignment: Practical on Editions
    sign up for Syllabus, Teaching with Technology presentations -- on class google doc
    Post #1 Group A / Response Group B

Class Objectives:

    Start and the beginning: Why teach literature?
    Discuss teacher training
    Discuss Wikipedia and humanistic knowledge
    Choose a class text
    Analyze different editions and discuss text selection

    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



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