July 3, 2008

Minor thoughts on teaching

Minor peeves (and solutions):

  • utilize (solution: use)
  • impact used as a transitive verb (solutions: influence, shape, affect, etc.)
  • in order to (solution: to)
  • When authors, to follow their own train of thought, including every tangent they traveled, such as when I tried Walgreens a few days ago when I couldn't find what I wanted at Target, split up clauses with parenthetical comments. (Most common solutions: delete the offending comments or move them to the front of the clause.)
(Douglas Adams has a permanent waiver from the interrupting-parenthetical-comment peeve, but his mid-sentence tangents are a stylistic choice in his fiction, not a default habit.)

I keep several questions in the back of my head to turn student challenges into teachable moments. Some of those which I haven't used recently (thankfully!), but have cropped up (or popped into my head) in conversation with colleagues:

  • I know you meant to write something different, but I had these words and only these words in front of me. Do you really want me and my colleagues to be telepathic?
  • I could lose more sleep and finish reading these papers earlier. But there are some logical tradeoffs. Can you tell me the latest you'd like me to be awake when I get to your paper?
  • I can, but you don't want me to. Can you see what would happen if I said yes?
  • In the classroom you expect to be in (or in which you are now), you might be asked the same question by students. How will you respond, and why? (This last one is for students who are either educators or want to be teachers.)

Listen to this article
Posted in on July 3, 2008 6:41 PM |