As the fall semester approaches, now is a good time to have a look at some of the advice and suggestions that have come out of the Teaching Workshop.
In the previous roundup, we looked at how a variety of posts dealt with the topic of student engagement in one form or another. Posts covered how to handle student engagement in large classes, mixed level classes, and during the final minutes of a class. These are all things to keep in mind in the coming semester, especially as chasing Pokemon through campus is likely to add to the long list of things vying for student attention.
Before your syllabi are handed out, it might also be good to consider making a change to experiment and hopefully improve on past courses. Here are some possibilities that have emerged from the teaching workshop so far:
James Lang suggested a way for students to do more valuable writing without adding more grading for instructors. The idea is to have students engage in “formative writing”, which Lang explains most frequently takes the form of low-stakes writing exercises completed in class or perhaps on a course discussion board”.
Many philosophers have thought about injecting some diversity into their courses. With already developed courses, it can seem extra difficult to imagine cutting out something to make room. Daniel Wodak discusses how one can balance concerns about canon with concerns about diversity. The APA also has the Diversity and Inclusiveness Syllabus Collection, a potentially helpful resource.
Group work is a perennial favorite among a large number of students. But not all teachers and students have figured out how to fully integrate it into their classes. Erin Tarver discusses different kinds of group work and ways it can be used.
Engage with the Teaching Workshop
What better way to try and improve your classes this semester and beyond than by engaging with the Teaching Workshop? By submitting questions, posting comments, and perhaps even offering answers to some questions, you can help all the philosophy teachers out there. Whether you have specific questions like how to address the analytic/synthetic distinction or general questions about how to approach teaching online, the teaching workshop aims to be a collaborative space for productive discussions about teaching philosophy.
The Teaching Workshop will return in the fall to address new topics. In the meantime, you can join the conversation in the comments sections of each post. If you have questions for the teaching workshop to address or you might like to help participate in future workshop posts you can email Jennifer Morton and Michelle Saint, at PhilTeacherWorkshop@gmail.com, or participate in the APA Teaching Workshop on Facebook.