Posts tagged teaching

Hilariously annoyed professor tears a student's email apart word by word | 22 Words

politicalprof:

Don’t send this email. Don’t send this email. Don’t send this email.

And yes: I have received this email. More times than you want to know.

I get some version of that email, too.

But here’s something I tried this semester, and so far it seems to be working. I created a shared Dropbox folder for the class, and invited everyone using their university email addresses. This caused minor panic, as some people didn’t use their university email accounts. Nevertheless, despite deliberately NOT helping anyone other than referring them to the school’s IT desk, all but four students have set up their Dropbox accounts (and those four have never attended class).

The secret was that I repeatedly tell them that I will give no handouts, including the detailed assignment instructions, in class. They will be ONLY available via Dropbox. Ditto any additional readings. Basically, I raised the stakes so high, they had no choice but to reach them.

Of course, this could all blow up in my face later …

Student Conferences | Politics and Government| Illinois State

politicalprof:

So my department runs an annual conference for graduate and undergraduate students to present their research. It’s a pretty unique thing, and has drawn students from around the nation and even the world over the last several years. If you have a research project you’d like to present, give it a thought! As a bonus, Politicalprof might even be there when you present!

Good tip!

Brown proud of what's being taught: Latest Husker News

From kohenari:

Man, Coach really has my number today:

Always open about his Christian faith, Brown received loud approval when answering his final question about how he balanced faith and football.

“How do I balance my faith?” Brown said. “In all due respect to the question, balancing your faith means you’re trying to tone it down there, lift it up there, kind of get in the middle ground.

“I’m the heavy guy on the seesaw. Wooo. There’s only one way.”

Brown said he reads Bible scriptures to his players just about every day. “Because I’m trying to coach their heart and soul. … People say, ‘Wait a minute, Brown. You’re not at Nebraska Christian. You’re at a land-grant institution, a state, publicly-funded university.’

"(It’s) the same way that the faculty, those professors in existentialism and philosophy are telling these same players, ‘There is no God. There is no right from wrong.’ When they get to my office at 2:30, I’m just de-programming all that stuff. I’m giving them my version, what I believe is the truth. Are we a university of diversity? A university of tolerance? Tolerate that,” Brown said to cheering.

“I would not be a man of integrity if I watered down what I believe. … If those professors want to live out their reality and their truth, they have a right to do that, they’re hired to do that, but so am I.”

But, seriously, as a professor who teaches the material that Brown hates at the university where Brown coaches football, I’d like to invite him to attend some of my classes.

Come to class, Coach. Any time. There are plenty of good seats available.

If you think my colleagues and I are brainwashing our students, you probably owe it to us to come to at least one class. At least one. Otherwise, based on what you explicitly say you’re doing and what I know I do in my classes, I submit you might be the only one doing the brainwashing.

I actually don’t think I was hired to teach what I believe is the truth. I think I was hired to teach students how to think for themselves.

As someone who considers himself a person of faith (I converted from protestant Evangelical to Catholicism and now attend an Episcopalian church) I always find it very, very uncomfortable whenever university officials start to use religious rhetoric—especially when it’s explicit. Because I always wonder: What does this tell our students? How does it make our non-Christian students feel? And how would I feel if I was forced to participate in Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu rituals as a part of my job?

Via globalvoices:

The online version of Chilean newspaper La Tercera released an interactive, multimedia special on the 40th anniversary of the coup against Salvador Allende.
Chile Coup Recounted Through Interactive Storytelling

This looks like a fantastic resource for teaching about Chile’s 1973 coup. Especially since the interactive site is in Spanish and English. 

Via globalvoices:

The online version of Chilean newspaper La Tercera released an interactive, multimedia special on the 40th anniversary of the coup against Salvador Allende.

Chile Coup Recounted Through Interactive Storytelling

This looks like a fantastic resource for teaching about Chile’s 1973 coup. Especially since the interactive site is in Spanish and English. 

Via hahamagartconnect:

STREET FOOD WITH A SIDE OF POLITICS…

The Conflict Kitchen was started by three artists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh opened a take-out restaurant that only serves the national cuisines of the countries the United States is currently in conflict with. The food comes wrapped in paper covered with facts about the current country’s government, culture and the way the U.S. perceives it. It makes starting an interesting dinner conversation a breeze.

I’ve heard about this place, but haven’t checked it out. I suspect, however, that it tends to preach to the choir. One of the sad realities I’ve discovered teaching about the politics of countries like Iran and Cuba in introductory classes is that—even when they’re forced to—most students are unwilling to question their preconceptions. It’s not like I don’t see the eye rolls and condescending smirks and furrowed brows at simply the idea that we will learn something about such countries. So, yeah. I doubt any of those students would stop to order Iranian or Cuban food. Especially if it was served with information about such countries.

For what it’s worth, that’s the hardest struggle I face teaching comparative politics. How do you break through that wall? Even if I preface my lecture/discussion with and pepper throughout condemnation of the many problems in countries like Iran or Cuba … why is the default setting of so many contemporary students to assume that learning about those countries (this, btw, extends to learning about Sweden or France or Japan or whatever) is somehow “bad”? Where did that come from?

I mean, I don’t like the Cuban or Iranian regimes, either! But I do think it’s important to learn why they emerged, how they remain in power, etc. Otherwise, how do you even start thinking about preventing the next Cuba or Iran or advancing policies to end those kinds of regimes?

If you have ideas on how to do this, or what has succeeded, I’d love to hear them. Perhaps it’s my current audience (Southern, conservative) or a generational shift brought on by hyper-polarized media culture (I believe the 2010s are more socially conservative than the 1980s in pop culture). So any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

From maneatingbadger:

pol102:

Via kohenari:

For those with an interest in the virtues and vices of thinking about education in terms of entertainment:

Participants in the study watched a short (one minute) video of a speaker explaining the genetics of calico cats. There were two versions of the video.
In the fluent speaker video, the speaker stood upright, maintained eye contact with the camera, and spoke fluidly without notes.
In the disfluent speaker video, the speaker stood behind the desk and leaned forward to read the information from notes. She did not maintain eye contact and she read haltingly.
The participants rated the fluent lecturer as more effective. They also believed they had learned more from the fluent lecturer. But when it came time to take the test, the two groups did equally well.
As the study’s authors put it, ‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Instructor Fluency Increases Perceptions of Learning Without Increasing Actual Learning.” Or, as Inside Higher Ed put it, when it comes to lectures, Charisma Doesn’t Count, at least not for learning. Perhaps these findings help explain why people love TED talks.

More on this study is here, including information on another study with similarly fascinating results.
More from me on the whole “edutainment” phenomenon in higher education.

I agree. I’m well aware that my being “engaging” and “interesting” in the classroom often comes at the expense of more depth of content. But, ironically, all the institutional incentives go in the opposite direction: either interesting, dynamic, “entertaining” lectures or simple, memorization-driven, digestible “facts.”
And yet … when I have the chance to teach a small seminar, with a handful of students, and I give them a reading list a page long … I get the best teaching evaluations.
I have a strong sense that students know they’re getting ripped off in large lecture classes. And given a “boring” one or an entertaining one, they’ll choose an entertaining one. But when presented with a tough, challenging course … they seem to appreciate that challenge. Most of those students have told me that they’ve never worked harder in their lives. And yet they tend to enroll for the next available seminar.
Unfortunately, so few students these days (at least at large public universities) are able to take such courses, their data is lost in the vast pool of teaching evaluation data. I wonder what would happen, if we pooled the data (like we do for other data analysis) by class size (or other factors). It wouldn’t be hard, methodologically. 

So class size and RateMyProfessor red peppers are no longer the way to go? Looking back on my share of boring big-auditorium lectures and smaller-class discussions led by enthusiastic professors, I can’t say I agree. But food for thought, in any case. 

Ah, but there’s the rub, maneatingbadger! I suspect the difference wasn’t the enthusiastic professor, but rather the size of the class that made the biggest difference. In the experiment, the size of the class was held constant, and the enthusiasm of the professor was varied. With the class size held constant, the students learned about the same. 
I suspect teacher enthusiasm probably increases along with class size for the same reason that student interest increases (good students self-select into smaller, tougher classes; smaller classes are often geared towards specific topics that the professor is most interested and/or specialized in; and small classes facilitate interactive dynamics). 
Some people are great, entertaining lecturers. But most of us who teach large lecture-based courses for a living are pretty aware that our it’s the quality of the textbook and the hours spent studying the material that carry most of the weight of actual “learning” in those courses.

From maneatingbadger:

pol102:

Via kohenari:

For those with an interest in the virtues and vices of thinking about education in terms of entertainment:

Participants in the study watched a short (one minute) video of a speaker explaining the genetics of calico cats. There were two versions of the video.

  • In the fluent speaker video, the speaker stood upright, maintained eye contact with the camera, and spoke fluidly without notes.
  • In the disfluent speaker video, the speaker stood behind the desk and leaned forward to read the information from notes. She did not maintain eye contact and she read haltingly.

The participants rated the fluent lecturer as more effective. They also believed they had learned more from the fluent lecturer. But when it came time to take the test, the two groups did equally well.

As the study’s authors put it, ‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Instructor Fluency Increases Perceptions of Learning Without Increasing Actual Learning.” Or, as Inside Higher Ed put it, when it comes to lectures, Charisma Doesn’t Count, at least not for learning. Perhaps these findings help explain why people love TED talks.

More on this study is here, including information on another study with similarly fascinating results.

More from me on the whole “edutainment” phenomenon in higher education.

I agree. I’m well aware that my being “engaging” and “interesting” in the classroom often comes at the expense of more depth of content. But, ironically, all the institutional incentives go in the opposite direction: either interesting, dynamic, “entertaining” lectures or simple, memorization-driven, digestible “facts.”

And yet … when I have the chance to teach a small seminar, with a handful of students, and I give them a reading list a page long … I get the best teaching evaluations.

I have a strong sense that students know they’re getting ripped off in large lecture classes. And given a “boring” one or an entertaining one, they’ll choose an entertaining one. But when presented with a tough, challenging course … they seem to appreciate that challenge. Most of those students have told me that they’ve never worked harder in their lives. And yet they tend to enroll for the next available seminar.

Unfortunately, so few students these days (at least at large public universities) are able to take such courses, their data is lost in the vast pool of teaching evaluation data. I wonder what would happen, if we pooled the data (like we do for other data analysis) by class size (or other factors). It wouldn’t be hard, methodologically. 

So class size and RateMyProfessor red peppers are no longer the way to go? Looking back on my share of boring big-auditorium lectures and smaller-class discussions led by enthusiastic professors, I can’t say I agree. But food for thought, in any case. 

Ah, but there’s the rub, maneatingbadger! I suspect the difference wasn’t the enthusiastic professor, but rather the size of the class that made the biggest difference. In the experiment, the size of the class was held constant, and the enthusiasm of the professor was varied. With the class size held constant, the students learned about the same. 

I suspect teacher enthusiasm probably increases along with class size for the same reason that student interest increases (good students self-select into smaller, tougher classes; smaller classes are often geared towards specific topics that the professor is most interested and/or specialized in; and small classes facilitate interactive dynamics). 

Some people are great, entertaining lecturers. But most of us who teach large lecture-based courses for a living are pretty aware that our it’s the quality of the textbook and the hours spent studying the material that carry most of the weight of actual “learning” in those courses.

Via kohenari:

For those with an interest in the virtues and vices of thinking about education in terms of entertainment:

Participants in the study watched a short (one minute) video of a speaker explaining the genetics of calico cats. There were two versions of the video.
In the fluent speaker video, the speaker stood upright, maintained eye contact with the camera, and spoke fluidly without notes.
In the disfluent speaker video, the speaker stood behind the desk and leaned forward to read the information from notes. She did not maintain eye contact and she read haltingly.
The participants rated the fluent lecturer as more effective. They also believed they had learned more from the fluent lecturer. But when it came time to take the test, the two groups did equally well.
As the study’s authors put it, ‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Instructor Fluency Increases Perceptions of Learning Without Increasing Actual Learning.” Or, as Inside Higher Ed put it, when it comes to lectures, Charisma Doesn’t Count, at least not for learning. Perhaps these findings help explain why people love TED talks.

More on this study is here, including information on another study with similarly fascinating results.
More from me on the whole “edutainment” phenomenon in higher education.

I agree. I’m well aware that my being “engaging” and “interesting” in the classroom often comes at the expense of more depth of content. But, ironically, all the institutional incentives go in the opposite direction: either interesting, dynamic, “entertaining” lectures or simple, memorization-driven, digestible “facts.”
And yet … when I have the chance to teach a small seminar, with a handful of students, and I give them a reading list a page long … I get the best teaching evaluations.
I have a strong sense that students know they’re getting ripped off in large lecture classes. And given a “boring” one or an entertaining one, they’ll choose an entertaining one. But when presented with a tough, challenging course … they seem to appreciate that challenge. Most of those students have told me that they’ve never worked harder in their lives. And yet they tend to enroll for the next available seminar.
Unfortunately, so few students these days (at least at large public universities) are able to take such courses, their data is lost in the vast pool of teaching evaluation data. I wonder what would happen, if we pooled the data (like we do for other data analysis) by class size (or other factors). It wouldn’t be hard, methodologically. 

Via kohenari:

For those with an interest in the virtues and vices of thinking about education in terms of entertainment:

Participants in the study watched a short (one minute) video of a speaker explaining the genetics of calico cats. There were two versions of the video.

  • In the fluent speaker video, the speaker stood upright, maintained eye contact with the camera, and spoke fluidly without notes.
  • In the disfluent speaker video, the speaker stood behind the desk and leaned forward to read the information from notes. She did not maintain eye contact and she read haltingly.

The participants rated the fluent lecturer as more effective. They also believed they had learned more from the fluent lecturer. But when it came time to take the test, the two groups did equally well.

As the study’s authors put it, ‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Instructor Fluency Increases Perceptions of Learning Without Increasing Actual Learning.” Or, as Inside Higher Ed put it, when it comes to lectures, Charisma Doesn’t Count, at least not for learning. Perhaps these findings help explain why people love TED talks.

More on this study is here, including information on another study with similarly fascinating results.

More from me on the whole “edutainment” phenomenon in higher education.

I agree. I’m well aware that my being “engaging” and “interesting” in the classroom often comes at the expense of more depth of content. But, ironically, all the institutional incentives go in the opposite direction: either interesting, dynamic, “entertaining” lectures or simple, memorization-driven, digestible “facts.”

And yet … when I have the chance to teach a small seminar, with a handful of students, and I give them a reading list a page long … I get the best teaching evaluations.

I have a strong sense that students know they’re getting ripped off in large lecture classes. And given a “boring” one or an entertaining one, they’ll choose an entertaining one. But when presented with a tough, challenging course … they seem to appreciate that challenge. Most of those students have told me that they’ve never worked harder in their lives. And yet they tend to enroll for the next available seminar.

Unfortunately, so few students these days (at least at large public universities) are able to take such courses, their data is lost in the vast pool of teaching evaluation data. I wonder what would happen, if we pooled the data (like we do for other data analysis) by class size (or other factors). It wouldn’t be hard, methodologically. 

From npr:

emergentfutures:

In Cisco’s Classroom Of The Future, Your Professor Is Just An Illusion

New telepresence software could let you take a class from anywhere and appear as if you’re in the classroom.
Full Story: FastCoExist


Cool. Yet, is it really cool? —Wright

Cool and not cool at the same time.
This kind of technology has tremendous possibilities, and not just for education. But sticking to education, it has the potential to have cross-institutional collaborations and make learning much more dynamic. Imagine if I could bring in a guest lecturer without having to fly him/her in. Imagine if two professors from different institutions could collaborative teach a course together, giving their students a shared experience. Imagine if students in China, the US, and Brazil could take a course on globalization simultaneously. That’s really cool.
But based on my experience in higher education, I know exactly how administrators will choose to use this technology: As a cost-saving device. Imagine 21st century technology being used to replicate static learning models. That’s basically the model. Let’s take one professor (perhaps someone with a great “brand” behind him/her) and have this person give lectures accessible to hundreds or thousands of students, on the cheap. The model presumes little interaction, little ability to discuss, and demands passive learning. You’ve taken 21st century technology and recreated the 19th century lecture and mashed it together with the early 20th century correspondence course. At some point, what distinguishes a “course” like this from a (carefully) curated series of TED talks? Or an audio (or, rather, video) book?
I currently teach a hybrid course that involves about half of my students being in another room at another (satellite) campus. Here’s the problem with that experience, and what is lost in the process: When I taught “intro to comparative” (POL 102) I mixed in lectures with small group discussions with in-class simulations with group projects. The dynamic nature of the class (strengthened simply by my being there) soon meant that we were all engaged in discussions. Because I am not there at the satellite campus, I can’t do any of the above (although I did try one group projects, with some success). If I do the interactive things with the students in front of me, I’m being grossly unfair to the other students. The simple and fair solution is to offer a “standardized” format to all students. This means lectures. And because the technology hasn’t really caught up to the vision, it means I have two choices: 1) Stand still and deliver a lecture or 2) Provide a voice-over for my PowerPoint presentation. I can’t do both. The screen is either on me or the PowerPoint (except for the students in my presence, who do get to see both me and the PowerPoint).
This produces two problems: If my presences as an instructor is reduced to a static lecture, with few (if any) questions, then the students would benefit more from my being able to carefully prepare, edit, and polish those lectures. Instead, I’m essentially giving about 27 live, differently scripted performances (that’s about one full television season, which also uses 50 minute blocks, except without any of the writers, editors, postproduction). If I focus on the PowerPoint presentation (which I did this semester), then the problem remains. Wouldn’t a carefully edited and polished video slideshow be better than a live PowerPoint presentation? In either case, a “taped” version of my lecture/slideshow would allow students to rewind, review, etc. 
This semester, I even had two satellite campuses, with one single student at the third campus. That meant this student had absolutely zero interaction with any classmates. Other than the fact that this was a live performance, structurally this wasn’t any different from someone coming in on a set schedule to watch a one-hour program on a small screen in front of him. In the age of DVRs, we don’t even do that for quality television. 
Don’t get me wrong: On the whole, my students (yes, including the satellite students) are pretty good. I’m not an easy grader (I do give a good number of Fs). But a lot of my students do seem to enjoy the course (or so they tell me) and they do well on most of the materials (and they’ve gotten progressively better each semester, I might add). The support staff that runs these “hybrid” classrooms is superb, and I would certainly flounder without them.
But let’s be honest. This is not teaching at its best. Perhaps it does provide better “access” to education (but so does Wikipedia, TED, etc.—and all without charging any tuition). But it puts the instructor in a pretty narrow straightjacket. Despite all the technology around me, I know that in that classroom I do my worst teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I try. I try really, really, really hard. 
Perhaps some day the technology will overcome these obstacles. But it will require thinking about how these technologies can make learning truly more collaborative. Not how they can replicate the 19th century lecture and package it like a 20th century correspondence course.

From npr:

emergentfutures:

In Cisco’s Classroom Of The Future, Your Professor Is Just An Illusion

New telepresence software could let you take a class from anywhere and appear as if you’re in the classroom.

Full Story: FastCoExist

Cool. Yet, is it really cool? —Wright

Cool and not cool at the same time.

This kind of technology has tremendous possibilities, and not just for education. But sticking to education, it has the potential to have cross-institutional collaborations and make learning much more dynamic. Imagine if I could bring in a guest lecturer without having to fly him/her in. Imagine if two professors from different institutions could collaborative teach a course together, giving their students a shared experience. Imagine if students in China, the US, and Brazil could take a course on globalization simultaneously. That’s really cool.

But based on my experience in higher education, I know exactly how administrators will choose to use this technology: As a cost-saving device. Imagine 21st century technology being used to replicate static learning models. That’s basically the model. Let’s take one professor (perhaps someone with a great “brand” behind him/her) and have this person give lectures accessible to hundreds or thousands of students, on the cheap. The model presumes little interaction, little ability to discuss, and demands passive learning. You’ve taken 21st century technology and recreated the 19th century lecture and mashed it together with the early 20th century correspondence course. At some point, what distinguishes a “course” like this from a (carefully) curated series of TED talks? Or an audio (or, rather, video) book?

I currently teach a hybrid course that involves about half of my students being in another room at another (satellite) campus. Here’s the problem with that experience, and what is lost in the process: When I taught “intro to comparative” (POL 102) I mixed in lectures with small group discussions with in-class simulations with group projects. The dynamic nature of the class (strengthened simply by my being there) soon meant that we were all engaged in discussions. Because I am not there at the satellite campus, I can’t do any of the above (although I did try one group projects, with some success). If I do the interactive things with the students in front of me, I’m being grossly unfair to the other students. The simple and fair solution is to offer a “standardized” format to all students. This means lectures. And because the technology hasn’t really caught up to the vision, it means I have two choices: 1) Stand still and deliver a lecture or 2) Provide a voice-over for my PowerPoint presentation. I can’t do both. The screen is either on me or the PowerPoint (except for the students in my presence, who do get to see both me and the PowerPoint).

This produces two problems: If my presences as an instructor is reduced to a static lecture, with few (if any) questions, then the students would benefit more from my being able to carefully prepare, edit, and polish those lectures. Instead, I’m essentially giving about 27 live, differently scripted performances (that’s about one full television season, which also uses 50 minute blocks, except without any of the writers, editors, postproduction). If I focus on the PowerPoint presentation (which I did this semester), then the problem remains. Wouldn’t a carefully edited and polished video slideshow be better than a live PowerPoint presentation? In either case, a “taped” version of my lecture/slideshow would allow students to rewind, review, etc. 

This semester, I even had two satellite campuses, with one single student at the third campus. That meant this student had absolutely zero interaction with any classmates. Other than the fact that this was a live performance, structurally this wasn’t any different from someone coming in on a set schedule to watch a one-hour program on a small screen in front of him. In the age of DVRs, we don’t even do that for quality television. 

Don’t get me wrong: On the whole, my students (yes, including the satellite students) are pretty good. I’m not an easy grader (I do give a good number of Fs). But a lot of my students do seem to enjoy the course (or so they tell me) and they do well on most of the materials (and they’ve gotten progressively better each semester, I might add). The support staff that runs these “hybrid” classrooms is superb, and I would certainly flounder without them.

But let’s be honest. This is not teaching at its best. Perhaps it does provide better “access” to education (but so does Wikipedia, TED, etc.—and all without charging any tuition). But it puts the instructor in a pretty narrow straightjacket. Despite all the technology around me, I know that in that classroom I do my worst teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I try. I try really, really, really hard. 

Perhaps some day the technology will overcome these obstacles. But it will require thinking about how these technologies can make learning truly more collaborative. Not how they can replicate the 19th century lecture and package it like a 20th century correspondence course.

See, while it might surprise most of you out there reading this, very little political science actually talks about politics. This is particularly true in the subfield of “American” politics (the one that people like Coburn care about). That is, if you were to pick up a political science journal — especially but not exclusively the APSA’s American Political Science Review, the alleged leading journal in the field — it would be incomprehensible to you. You would see row after row of calculus equations arrayed in models that purport to analyze some political phenomenon or another. You wouldn’t think of it as analyzing politics at all.

Political science navel gazing | Politicalprof

In which Politicalprof succinctly explains why most outside observers don’t think we are worth funding. Read the whole post. It’s part of the angst many in my profession are currently feeling after the government decided to end public funding (or at least subject it to an “American interests” litmus test) of political science.

The problem is that we (political scientists) have clearly done a terrible job of convincing the public at large—and probably most of our own students—of the public utility and value of a political science education.

In fact, last year a colleague and I did a survey of all the 100-level political science courses (over 1,300 students that semester in intro American, Comparative, and IR courses). We measured student attitudes on a variety of indicators, and also asked them a battery of demographic questions. We found that individual student political efficacy actually dropped, even when controlling for race, gender, social class, age, etc. And even when controlling for median class GPA and teacher evaluation averages (we wanted to control for teacher effects). The findings were fairly robust. It was depressing: Taking a course in political science was likely to reduce a student’s internal and external political efficacy (that is, the belief that he/she can understand and effectively participate in, politics).

Oh, we also asked them about their interest in political science. Their interest dropped between the first and last weeks of the semester. Depressing. Which is why I haven’t yet pulled the paper back out and sent it to any journal. Though perhaps I should.

Where do I begin? I spent the last thirty minutes listening to a group of arrogant and condescending non educators disrespect my colleagues and profession. I listened to a group of disingenuous people whose own self-interests guide their policies rather than the interests of children. I listened to a cabal of people who sit on national education committees that will have a profound impact on classroom teaching practices. And I heard nothing of value.

“I’m thinking about the current health care debate, “I said. “And I am wondering if I will be asked to sit on a national committee charged with the task of creating a core curriculum of medical procedures to be used in hospital emergency rooms.”

The strange little man cocks his head and, suddenly, the fly on the wall has everyone’s attention.

“I realize that most people would think I am unqualified to sit on such a committee because I am not a doctor, I have never worked in an emergency room, and I have never treated a single patient. So what? Today I have listened to people who are not teachers, have never worked in a classroom, and have never taught a single student tell me how to teach.”

2009 National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen, describing his experience at a national conference on the future of teaching in his blog post, “Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard.” This should be read. (via politicalprof)