Submitting to “On Teaching”

American Studies remains committed to promoting discussion on pedagogy, as well as meeting the needs of both research and teaching institutions within our region. One way we fulfill this commitment is through the “On Teaching” feature, which focuses on issues relevant to the American Studies classroom. While this feature has long been a fixture of the journal, we are now expanding it to the blog.

Submissions for the “On Teaching” column should be around 700 words. Columns should focus on any aspect of teaching, including issues such as teaching methods, using social media in the classroom, or teaching American studies outside of an American Studies department. Please suggest at least one graphic to go with your column. All submissions will be reviewed by an editor before being posted, and changes may be requested at that time.

Discussion

One thought on “Submitting to “On Teaching”

  1. With the 2012 general election date less than one week away, I am reading political news and opinion poll updates less, and Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance more. Plus, I making my way through this remarkable text in the company of my United States in Global Context (American Studies/Sociology 332) students. All teaching is experimental to greater or lesser extents; all teaching involves risk. For me, the risks are something I wanted to discuss with students with the most transparency I could muster. After we had spent the first few days of our unit schedule on Dreams (which I made the central required reading of the Unit 4: Family unit), I asked students to write an in-class response. These were my questions for them: 1) What opinion of the author did you have prior to reading this book? 2) What did you think when you found out that the book would be required reading? 3) Do you think this is a good story? Do you think the author is a good storyteller? I wrote the questions on the board at the front of the classroom and asked them to wait before writing, because I thought it necessary for me to tell them that I bring a point of view and a set of experiences to this book. I let the students know that I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and that I would vote for him again this year, with even more enthusiasm. I also told them that I had not read the book prior to this course–that it had been on one of my bookshelves for a while, and that I decided that making it part of USGC would be an interesting, useful experience. My teaching has coincided with several Presidential elections, and part of the appeal of American Studies is that there are a host of good pedagogical reasons for emphasizing relationships between our work and the electoral process. I taught American Identities (American Studies/Sociology 110) during the 2008 election season, a memorable semester and year. This semester is taking on a shape that is just as memorable, but in different ways. In future blog posts, I will elaborate on what I anticipate remembering, with attention to interactions with and contributions from students.

    Posted by Ray Pence | November 1, 2012, 1:04 pm

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