4 WHAT I LEARNED FROM BRUCE SPRINTSTEEN.docx

4 WHAT I LEARNED FROM BRUCE SPRINTSTEEN.docx - WHAT I...

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM BRUCE SPRINTSTEEN This essay was posted on my teaching blog on January 22, 2017. - teaching.blogspot.com/ Here are three things that happened to me in the past few days. Hopefully, at the end, I’ll be able to connect these three stories into a definite point that makes some amount of sense. One Last week, I received an email from a professor on the liberal arts side of our campus. He indicated that after 30 years as a college teacher he was in the process of switching to a Socratic Method style. He had heard that I had been using that approach for a long time. He wondered if he could sit in on a class and observe. Of course, I was glad to have him visit. He showed up. He paid close attention to what I was trying to do. He took notes. After class, he asked several excellent questions. We agreed that we would stay in touch. I would provide advice if he ever needed any. I was impressed that, after 30 years, he was willing to take the leap to make such a radical change. Most college teachers settle into a style early in their careers and make only slight adjustments thereafter. As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” When is the last time you visited another class and asked the teacher why he or she was doing what they were doing? When was the last time you observed another teacher and really analyzed their technique? What are they doing and how (or why) is it working? When is the last time you walked up to a colleague and said “I know you are a great teacher. Can I ask you a question or two that might help me become a better teacher?” Two Dr. Shannon Kathryn Orr (Bowling Green State) and Dr. Staci Zavattaro (Central Florida) are coming out with a book soon titled Reflections on Academic Lives . In this book, they ask quite a number of college professors to look back and describe what advice they wished they had received while they were doing their graduate work. I provided my answer in a short essay that
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