The brouhaha about automated grading of essay exams came to mind the other day when I was asked, as an English teacher, to comment on whether or not a student might be able to submit a series of lab reports to fulfill a composition requirement. If automated grading catches on, we are going to see … Continue reading Why Take Composition Courses?
The other day, when I should have been doing something else, I Googled myself. One of the pages I found was on Writing Skills for a site called Paper Due. At first, I was flattered, thinking someone was actually using something I had written to aid others in developing their prose style.Then I was, well, … Continue reading Writing for Yourself
Some years ago, I taught a few online courses for one of the for-profit online universities. Afterward, I felt a little sorry for the students, for I didn't think they were getting their money's worth—a local community college would have been cheaper, and the students would have had much more direct interaction with their teacher—and … Continue reading Flexibility
While editing a chapter of the book I'm completing, Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children (with Robert Leston, for Praeger—making this the third in my 'blogosphere' series), I am stewing about writing:Why is it I have to relearn to write each time I'm halfway through a book or an article? Why do all the … Continue reading Try a Little Tenderness
What's this fascination we've got with teachers? Why do we concentrate on them so much, when we talk about education, and on rating them, and so little on learning?There's an article in today's The New York Times about claims that education will actually get better if we have more evaluation of teachers. That, by itself, … Continue reading Here We Go Again!
The following is a paper I will be presenting at the Appalachian Studies Association Annual Conference at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio on Friday, March 27.There are, of course, similarities between the Appalachian college student and the Brooklyn one, but you won’t find them if you go looking for racial or ethnic parallels, religious … Continue reading Exploding the Monolith: The Value of Teaching Appalachian Literature in Inner-City Environments
A slow learner (to borrow from Thomas Pynchon), only recently have I begun to connect the understanding I have gained over the last decades about movies with my developing practices in teaching. Obtuse, I hadn’t recognized how directly the former was influencing the latter. In fact, it wasn’t until last fall, when I once again … Continue reading "It’s Just Like Watching the Detectives"
[Crossposted from Free Exchange on Campus]When I was in Peace Corps, I taught farmers the rudiments of using oxen for plowing. I did this at an instruction center in the north of the West African nation of Togo. It was a complicated task: Aside from the actual plowing, the farmers had to learn to 1) … Continue reading Why I Teach
It's a huge world out there—even bigger, now that we have the Internet expanding its boundaries and hoarding its history. So vast is it that we all miss things. Nobody, no matter their field or narrow specialty, can any longer say that they are on top of all that's going on. Anyone who believes otherwise … Continue reading Gaming the System
Why do I teach? Because I'm not learn'd, not in the sense of Whitman's astronomer. I'm more like his listener, who fidgeted:Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars. A lover of the meaning, and not simply … Continue reading Why Do I Teach?