Problems With Contract Grading

Traditional grading, which, like so many of our so-called traditions in the US isn’t actually very old, has a lot of obvious problems. It’s been rightly called racist, classist, and eugenicist. The conventional grading structure likely causes more harm to students than good, and yet teachers are forced into it by administrative demands that benefitContinue reading “Problems With Contract Grading”

Quarter Semester Reflection

My students are about a quarter through their coursework now. They’ve finished one of four projects. So I decided now would be a good time to assess how I’m doing in serving them as teacher. I’ve seen a number of instructors suggesting weekly (or even more frequent) check-ins with students. I like that idea, butContinue reading “Quarter Semester Reflection”

Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired

It’s a bit of a cliche right now, due to the pandemic, that we have to “relearn” how to do things that were normal. But it’s also, like many cliches, not wrong. And as teachers struggle to find a mode of instruction that meets ever-changing guidelines and protects themselves and their students but still preservesContinue reading “Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired”

Asynchronous Accommodations

At the beginning of the semester, it’s routine for me to receive several letters from our office of disability services requesting accommodations for students. These letters are form letters where they just drop in a list of accommodations from a fairly standard list of options, such as time and a half on exams and quizzes,Continue reading “Asynchronous Accommodations”

New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020

I’ve written before about how I like to make resolutions at the new semester, rather than the new year. So let’s do this! I admit this semester I haven’t given that much thought to what I want to do better. Like most of us, I’ve been in crisis mode over the summer, waiting to seeContinue reading “New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020”

You Don’t Need To Watch Your Students

A lot of us are teaching online for the fall. Not as many of us as should be teaching online in the fall, of course, but a lot of us (and as I’ve mentioned before, if you’re not, plan to teach online anyway, because it’s a definite possibility). And I know I’ve said it beforeContinue reading “You Don’t Need To Watch Your Students”

Content, Process, Skill: Heuristics for Evaluating Educational Foundations

One of the biggest misconceptions underlying problems in education is that education is, at its core, simply the accumulation of content: memorizing facts and formulae somehow makes an education. Blame standardized testing if you like, since it’s much more cost-effective to test for content than for processes or skills. For the present argument, where theContinue reading “Content, Process, Skill: Heuristics for Evaluating Educational Foundations”

Student Agency Matters (Especially Right Now)

A student asked me over the summer (via an online session, of course) what I thought of the university’s plan to do face-to-face classes. I had a pretty ready answer; I’d already formulated my answer for a survey of non-tenure faculty that one of my excellent colleagues was conducting to make our voices heard. IContinue reading “Student Agency Matters (Especially Right Now)”

Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom

Like my last post, this is addressed primarily to my white readers, this time the white teachers who read my Work Thursday posts. I’m white, from a super-privileged middle class background, one that has benefited a lot from systemic racism. Many of my students over the years, however, have been Black, from a variety ofContinue reading “Letting Students Lead: Race in the Classroom”

Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability

I was a freshman in high school, having just moved across the country to a wealthy suburb of Washington DC, where many Pentagon officers lived, when the 9/11 attacks happened. Most of my fellow students had some connection to the government or military through their parents’ jobs. Many parents at my school worked in theContinue reading “Important Lessons: Flexibility and Vulnerability”

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