What we Teach about Race

Assuming we accept the idea that we need to teach more and/or better about race, before we start, we need to consider the fundamental question, WHAT do we want to teach?

I think sometimes busy faculty don’t take enough time considering this question. But as I wrote in chapter one of my book, choosing significant and meaningful goals is a crucial step in the process of designing an effective, well-integrated course in which students learn deeply and retain what they learn.

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Let’s Teach More, and/or Better, about Race

White police killed an unarmed Black man. Again. The murder of George Floyd – captured on video by 17-year-old Darnella Frazer for all the world to witness in its senseless and brazen cruelty – resulted in persistent protests around the nation. Again. By now everyone knows Floyd’s name, just as we learned the names Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. (Yet too rarely do we know the names of or facts about police brutality towards Black women, as pointed out in the powerful exposé Say Her Name by the African American Policy Forum.) In 1991, everyone knew the name of Rodney King, and in the mid and late 1960s we watched frequent clashes with police as they resulted in burning cities. 

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Emotions in Teaching

Have you ever before heard faculty talk so much about emotions?

Cathy Davidson, author of The New Education, asserted on the HASTAC blog that “our summer of planning for better online learning this Fall will be wasted if we do not begin from the premise that our students are learning from a place of dislocation, anxiety, and trauma. So are we.”

“Precarity, uncertainty, grief and feeling overwhelmed abound,” observed Becca Pope-Ruark in Inside Higher Education. She cautioned faculty to pay attention to signs of debilitating burnout.

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Online Teaching: “Small” but Powerful

Review: Flower Darby with James M. Lang, Small Teaching Online (Jossey-Bass, 2019)

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been desperate to read advice on how to teach well online. Since we may well be teaching remotely again sooner or later, I decided to read and review Flower Darby’s Small Teaching Online.

Bottom line: Yes, I think it’s well worth a read.……..

But before you read:  Clear your mind. Give yourself a treat for having survived the spring. Take a vacation.

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Occasional Posts

I’ll be blogging here periodically. The posts might be related to great instructional practices, specific dilemmas faced by me or my colleagues, useful resources, or interesting discussions in history, teaching, or higher education. I see this as an opportunity to think through some ideas and to do so while writing in a less formal way than I usually do.