Things I should think about, though, for future teaching experiences: how to ask the right sorts of questions that make it easy for a student to elaborate a thought they’re in the process of having; how to encourage students to speak to one another; how to gently guide a wayward conversation back on track; how to tie threads of discussion into each other. How to speak in a way that helps students take notes; how to lace my opening comments with well-delineated points that can act as handles for the rest of the discussion that our thoughts can keep coming back to. How to give good ‘take-home’ messages: to think specifically about what I want the student to take away from the class. How not to talk too much.
Leow has also coined the verb 'to lipton,' in memory of the late philosopher of science Peter Lipton. It's good to have a name for this, since it's a skill that I wish I had in greater abundance and admire to no end:
To Lipton, I have told people, is to listen to the most garbled, incoherent, muddle-headed drivel that periodically emits from a student or otherwise member of an audience, and to restate it back at them in the most crystal clear terms, so that whatever point hidden in its murky depths is rescued & borne out of the swamps of obfuscation to receive enlightenment from high … seriously. Liptoning also involves clarifying complexity with enviable panache, but always without an iota of hubris — always that incredible modesty and respect for what one does not know — in short, to be an ideal teacher and thinker. What a gift!
A gift indeed.