Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Just asking about 'Just in Time Teaching'

I've been experimenting in my classroom with some ideas inspired by Just in Time Teaching (and here). I'm intrigued by the JITT approach and would love to hear from others who have incorporated JITT-like techniques into their teaching (or who have considered doing so). I've not been able to locate any examples of JITT in philosophy teaching.

I'd be interested in knowing:
  1. How does JITT differ from the inverted classroom?
  2. A lot of JITT literature emphasizes that pre-class exercises should be open-ended or problem-based. Why not more 'objective' activities like quizzes, etc.?
  3. How do students react to JITT methods? Does it enhance engagement and student interest?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Philosophical Tv/Movie Clips-- Call for Help

I've started to use PowerPoint to lecture every 2-3 weeks, when I really need to focus on getting through complex or dense bits of the reading. In a week or so, I will be using PowerPoint to give a lecture on Kant's moral philosophy to my Intro students. When we discussed Utilitarianism, I found a very useful and funny clip from the show Louis CK which captured Singer's argument in Famine, Affluence, and Morality perfectly. I've been trying to find a clip from a TV show or movie that I could use to illustrate the Categorical Imperative or the Formula of Humanity, but I haven't been able to come up anything. I looked through the resource section of Teaching Philosophy 101 with no luck. Suggestions are most welcome.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quotable teacher, installment 20

"The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple."
             — Amos Bronson Alcott

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

'Pick your best work'

I'm going to be trying something new this quarter and would be interested to hear initial reactions to my plan.

In my interdisciplinary Gen Ed course on death and dying, the students receive a weekly writing assignment. They are required to complete five of the assignments during the term. The assignments themselves will be ungraded, but I plan to give collective feedback along the lines I described in an earlier post.

I'm then requiring the students to tell me which three of the five completed writing assignments they'd like me to count for their term grade. In short, they pick their best work to be counted toward their grade.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Learning as a process of grieving

So I've been investigating philosophical discussions of grief, in preparation for teaching a course on death and dying this fall. And I came across this little tidbit from the Wikipedia entry on the Kubler-Ross model of grief:
Studies of epistemology, the process of learning, suggest that the patterns of grief are one way of describing the basic patterns of integrating new information that conflicts with previous beliefs. 
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." said Arthur Schopenhauer of the learning process, which corresponds to the five stages of grief with denial being ridicule, opposition being anger and bargaining, and acceptance being depression and acceptance.

Wow. Could it be that one reason teaching is such an incredibly difficult profession is that, in inviting students to learn, we are inviting them into a process that, if successful, will catalyze grief? And perhaps students know this, and so they resist the seemingly violent intrusion upon their psychological security that true education involves?