A new semester is upon us, and with it, an opportunity to step back and reflect on your broader pedagogical goals before you dive into the day-to-day concerns of teaching. Two defenses of the liberal arts provide food for thought: Harvard Professor Louis Menand, reviewing Academically Adrift and In the Basement of the Ivory Tower in June, explained why we have college; Dean Dad reflects on what today’s grim employment outlook implies about his responsibility toward the students of his community college; Pope Benedict IX calls for education that “embraces the full measure of what it means to be human.”
Still tweaking your syllabus? Jason B. Jones offers a few tips and a list of helpful links.
Worried that the day-to-day concerns of teaching will take away from your scholarship? Think again: a new study from the University of Virginia suggests that researchers who teach become better at generating testable hypotheses and designing experiments than do colleagues who pursue research full-time. Possible explanations for the phenomenon include the effect of practice (helping a student solve a problem means you practice solving the problem many different ways and from many different angles), and self-explanation (explaining research skills to students gives you greater mastery of the skills, too). If you have an HUID and PIN, you can access the paper here. It appears in the new issue of Science, which also includes a special section on early education.)
This post was written by Odile Harter.