National Education Association. 1201 16th Street NW Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4000; Fax: 202-822-7974; Web site: http://www.nea.org
Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
In this article, the author shares how she designs fun and fascinating western humanities courses at a community college in Minnesota. Using the example provided by many excellent past instructors, and through numerous late-night research sessions, she began to develop techniques and exercises that would help her achieve her goals in the classroom. As a teacher, she wanted to help students retain precepts of a subject for a little longer than the time it takes to fill in a Scantron card. At the beginning of each class, she writes key terms, names, titles, and ideas on the whiteboard. She explains each concept or term as clearly as possible, and illustrates abstract concepts with real-life examples when appropriate. Once the students have a solid grounding in facts, she moves towards her second goal, which is to help them realize that what they're learning isn't simply a series of curiosities, relevant only to dead, dusty people. She tries to impart that what they're learning has shaped their world, and the way they live their lives. Her third goal is to require each student to think critically and creatively. Optimally, she tries to design exercises that fulfill her teaching goals.