Role Reversal: Learning from a Master Teacher

I had a most interesting experience last summer. I have taught college composition for many years, but I had not participated in a writing workshop as a writer for a long time. Of course, I had regularly run workshops in my classroom. But this time, I had written a short, 600-word essay, and it was workshopped (which to those of us in composition means reviewed and critiqued) by my peers as part of a larger in-service on curiosity and writing. When the workshop was finished, I turned to a fellow English professor and said, “So that’s how it’s supposed to be done!”

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Values Surveys: Linking Course Content and Students’ Lives

Last week, while teaching Dante’s Inferno, I moderated a lively two-day class discussion about medieval and modern values and religion. How did Dante define virtue? How do we define it? For Dante, why was lust not as terrible a sin as theft of property? Why did his age consider gluttony a moral failing rather than a self-destructive behavior that one can take to Jenny Craig?

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Teaching Circles: Low-Cost, High-Impact Faculty Development

Two years ago, a midcareer colleague in the mathematics department sent around an e-mail to all faculty at our college, inviting us to read a book with her. And as simply as that, a teaching circle was formed. A teaching circle, the term we use at my institution, is simply a group of faculty interested in discussing teaching at regular intervals, ideally over food. As my colleague said, laughing, at our first meeting, “I need a support group, and everyone needs lunch!”...

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