Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do you teach ....?

Teaching Philosophy is introducing a new feature to each of its issues. The journal will be publishing articles entitled 'How to Teach...' Each article will be an overview of how to teach one of the standard courses in the philosophy curriculum. The basic motivation for these articles is to help those who have never taught courses in a given area of philosophy prepare to teach such courses, as well as giving those experienced in teaching courses in a given area different models for courses in that area.

We already have an article scheduled on how to teach critical thinking. In the next few years, I hope to publish 'How to Teach ...' articles on the following courses:
  • ancient philosophy
  • modern philosophy
  • the Continental tradition
  • Asian philosophy
  • logic
  • metaphysics
  • epistemology
  • philosophy of science
  • feminist philosophy
  • bioethics, medical ethics, health care ethics
  • information technology ethics
If you might be interested in writing such a piece, please contact me: mjcholbi*at*csupomona*dot*edu.

Below the fold are additional guidelines for the 'How to Teach...' articles.
TP: Guidelines for “How to Teach” articles

The aim of How to Teach articles is for instructors experienced in teaching a particular philosophy course to provide guidance in how to teach such a course, especially to those teaching such a course for the first time.

How to Teach articles should address five main areas of concern:
1.    Goals: What are some common learning goals of this course? Authors should emphasize both course-specific goals (e.g., in an epistemology course, that students understand disputes between internalists and externalists about justification, etc.) and more general pedagogical or disciplinary goals (e.g., that students read primary historical sources). Authors are free to emphasize the goals that ground the course as they teach it, but should also acknowledge other legitimate approaches to learning goals in the course.
2.     Topics: What topics are sensibly covered in such a course for undergraduates? Here authors should indicate which topics are, in their estimation, more fundamental or central and which less so, so as to enable readers teaching on different calendars (quarter versus semester) or with different student populations (community colleges versus elite colleges, etc.) to adapt the article’s advice to their own teaching environment. If the course is one that is often offered at different levels (introductory versus advanced undergraduate), authors should indicate how the course might be modified accordingly. (NOTE: Authors may suggest particular texts or teaching materials, but this should not be a primary point of emphasis in the article. TP publishes review articles comparing different textbooks in a given area, so authors may refer readers to these for advice on texts.)
3.    Evaluation: How are students best evaluated in the course? Which evaluations are most valid and focus student learning efforts?
4.    Strategies: Are there teaching strategies (in-class exercises, assignments, group work, etc.) that are especially effective in this course? Especially ineffective?
5.     Challenges and rewards: What makes this course challenging? What will instructors coming to the course for the first time find to be the most daunting or frustrating? What makes this course rewarding?

Authors can choose to use these five areas of concern as explicit guides, with sections of the article corresponding to each area, or they may write a more freeform piece so long as these five areas are addressed. The maximum length for How to Teach articles is 8,000 words.


  1. Sounds like a great idea. I gather you're not interested in topics such as How to teach ethics or how to teach political philosophy because they've already been so heavily covered? How about one on environmental ethics?

    I gather other possible topics for courses such as philosophy of X (where X is some special science) or decision theory are too specialized to appeal to enough readers?

    1. I'm happy to consider proposals for any course, but I'd like to emphasize courses for which a large number of instructors might need special preparation. E-mail me if you're interested. Thanks!

  2. Will you be open to responses to "how to teach" articles? I imagine it is possible I will have something to say about the Critical Thinking article, for example.

    1. TP doesn't usually publish direct replies, but of course, these articles can be discussed in any manuscript submitted to the journal.


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