Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Key to Successful Teaching

I have discovered it and I think I should market it.

Instead, I will present here for your educational benefit.

Prepare for teaching as normal. Give your lecture, lead discussion, whatever. Then, when a student asks a question or raises a point that completely contradicts what you've said and you realize you were entirely wrong, you shout, "Excellent! So what do we make of this contradiction? How does this complicate our notion of [whatever we were talking about]?"

Works every time.

At the start of my teaching career, somebody told me that it is all smoke and mirrors. Years later, I can only confirm that statement. Most of the time, I feel like I am dressing up to go pretend to be a teacher every MWF for 50 minutes. It can be an exhausting stage performance, especially if I have failed to write and memorize my lines ahead of time. But my no-fail teaching strategy can be a real life saver.

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