Monthly Archives: April 2012

Socrates: an imaginary observation

Dear Socrates, Thank you for allowing me to observe your class on the nature of reality on Friday.  I very much enjoyed it. There was clearly a high level of engagement in your classroom.  (I use this term loosely:  I … Continue reading

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In the company of teachers

There are lots of good reasons I’m a teacher.  Teaching is fun, and hard, and the only challenge I’ve taken on that seems to me truly inexhaustible.  But the most important reason I’m a teacher is that, after all these … Continue reading

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A silent discussion

I tried something new with my World History classes today, and I loved it enough I think I’m going to make it a regular thing.  My dilemma for today was that it was National Day of Silence, a day on … Continue reading

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What do I mean by a scholarly discussion?

What should the ideal class discussion look like? I’m thinking about wonderful discussions I’ve had with groups of working academics in the past.  What made them different from the discussions my students have?  The scholars are experts in their fields, … Continue reading

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Discussion leading vs. teaching discussion–what are we doing, anyhow?

We all know what we want a discussion class to look like:  all students should be engaged and active participants, the tone should be one of civil egalitarianism, the points should be on-topic and well grounded in evidence, and the … Continue reading

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Talking about things, or why is discussion so hard?

The first year I taught a high school class after years leading college discussion sections, one of my students complained on an end-of-the-year evaluation that “all we do is sit around and talk.”  I was appalled at the difference between … Continue reading

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