Praxis

About the practical application of teaching strategies and theories.

Monday 21 July 2008

  • Textbook and Academic Authors Association - My essay, "When the Professor Wrote the Textbook," just went live on the Text and Academic Authors Association website so I thought I'd give the TAA a plug. The TAA site has a free preview, but the complete site is only open to paying members. However, if you plan to... (19:09 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Thursday 10 July 2008

  • Six Word Memoirs of Teachers - Teacher Magazine has a fun list of Six Word Memoirs by teachers. It's a sort of homage to the pop mini-memoir book, Not Quite What I was Planning (click through that: apparently you can submit to the sequel!). Although such things are terribly reductive, they're pithy. A few quick examples... (10:56 | 0 Trackbacks | 5 Comments)

Wednesday 9 July 2008

  • Wanted: Books on Teaching Creative Writing - I'm trying to compile a bibliography of books on the art of teaching creative writing. There are a wealth of titles on how to write for publication, and a lesser-but-still-rich number of books on how to teach writing -- but the latter are predominantly about teaching composition skills or scholarly... (10:49 | 0 Trackbacks | 3 Comments)

Thursday 19 June 2008

  • Is Reading to Students Bad? - The forums over at Teacher Magazine have a great conversation going on right now about the advantages and disadvantages of reading text aloud to students in the classroom. Apparently a high school teacher was given a hard time by his administrators, who overheard him and felt he was talking down... (10:49 | 0 Trackbacks | 6 Comments)

Thursday 12 June 2008

  • Writing in the Book - I adored reading Christian Long's recent article, "Mapping Literary Highlights, Highlighting Literary Maps" at think:lab yesterday. In it, he talks about adopting a class rule that students write in the margins of their books: Nothing says, "Yes, English class rocks!", than the early-in-the-year lesson on highlighting our books. Like a... (07:17 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)

Thursday 22 May 2008

  • "Student Outcomes": Neha Bawa - "Student Outcomes" is a new, ongoing series of interviews with my former students who are now living life after college. Considering how much of our work is based on the assumption that "learning outcomes" will be met, I thought it would be a good way to catch up with them... (00:20 | 0 Trackbacks | 6 Comments)

Thursday 1 May 2008

  • The Munch Piñata (in class Writing Contest) - The "Munch Piñata" pictured above was created by my wife, Renate Müller, as one of the "prizes" students could win in a live "writing contest" held in the final session of my fun "Horror & Suspense Writing" course this semester. She did a knockout job emulating Edvard Munch's "The... (19:38 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Sunday 27 April 2008

  • Being Contrary - I've been reflecting on an approach I consciously employed last week in two different class scenarios -- an online chat with graduate students and in a discussion of a literary reading with advanced writing students -- just to see how it might stimulate the conversation. I launched both by being... (10:30 | 0 Trackbacks | 3 Comments)

Thursday 17 April 2008

  • Dipping into del.icio.us - I have stopped running a newsletter I used to keep for my journalism/writing students (and also freelance writers), called The Handy Job Hunter for Writers. This newsletter once offered me a place to write articles about some the issues I was teaching, as well as to connect with others in... (18:24 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Monday 7 April 2008

  • You're Fired: The (Academic) Apprentice - Note: What you are about to read is more about the Donald Trump television show than any college-affiliated apprenticeship (well, unless you count Trump University, of course). I recently employed a version of Trump's "The Apprentice" game show in my "Publication Workshop" classroom on the spur of the moment, and... (18:13 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Wednesday 5 March 2008

  • Screams from Right Here - Last week in my Horror Writing course (one of my favorite Topics in Creative Writing classes to teach), we looked at the role of the "scream" in horror. I decided this would be a great way to put the "Friday Shout-Out" exercise -- an idea culled from Coyotebanjo's music teaching... (08:10 | 0 Trackbacks | 3 Comments)

Thursday 28 February 2008

  • Who's No Longer Who Among American Teachers - I received a message recently from a teacher who hadn't received her order from Who's Who Among America's Teachers, and wondered if I knew how to help. I did a quick search and discovered that ECI -- Educational Communications, Inc. -- ceased all operations in 2007! This came as a... (13:10 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Sunday 24 February 2008

  • Tax Season 2008 for Teachers - Sigh. I guess it's almost time to file taxes again. You with me? College-level educators make expenses and sometimes generate income in ways that are different than other professions. Usually a good tax tip book can come in handy for this, especially when you first take on a new tenure-track... (14:20 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Monday 4 February 2008

  • LibraryThing for Educators - Last year I signed up for LibraryThing -- a social networking site where book lovers share their personal libraries online. They call it the "largest bookclub in the world." It's actually an intriguing bibliography system, tapping into libraries and bookstores around the globe to pull in information about any given... (23:55 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Friday 1 February 2008

  • Edublogs Magazine - Just learned about Edublogs magazine -- a new online journal that promises to be useful for teachers who blog or who use blogs in the classroom. It's tied in with edublogs.org and looks to be a good network for this kind of thing, based on the experience people who are... (15:23 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Tuesday 29 January 2008

  • Productivity Hampered by Technology - I saw myself reflected in the frustrations posted by high school math tacher Amber Arizpe in a recent 43Folders post: "Teacher's Productivity Hampered by Technology.". Arizpe (aka salindger) describes an interesting process: During class, I write out notes on the Elmo. Plain ol’ paper and pen on a notepad. I... (22:47 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Sunday 27 January 2008

  • Behind the Scenes of Rate My Professor - As I mentioned in my first entry after returning from hiatus, RateMyProfessors.com has grown since I first looked at it a few years ago, particularly in the ways in which professors can interact and respond to the student comments. Inspired by the video responses from teachers, I decided to join... (11:35 | 0 Trackbacks | 3 Comments)

Monday 21 January 2008

  • Friday Shout-Out + Other Forms of Noise - This morning I read about an interesting classroom activity called the "Friday Shout-Out" on music professor Coyotebanjo's great edublog series called In the Trenches, which chronicles the reality of his work in the classroom. The Friday Shout-Out technique addresses the student exhaustion over a week of tough classes and their... (09:51 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Sunday 20 January 2008

  • Professors Strike Back - And...scene! I'm back. Have been returned to campus after sabbatical, actually, for about six months so far -- I just haven't been blogging, and I apologize, but I've been rather busy. I will likely talk more about sabbatical and such later on. But for now, here's something fun that I... (15:41 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Saturday 29 April 2006

  • On Sabbatical - I am going on sabbatical for the full 2006-7 academic year, in order to secure time to develop my next novel. While I intend to keep researching and reflecting on teaching during that time, I've decided to put Pedablogue on hiatus until August 2007, when I return to full-time teaching.... (09:17 | 0 Trackbacks | 10 Comments)

Tuesday 18 April 2006

  • COLLEGE STUDENTS AND TELEVISION - Next week, April 24-30th, is TV-Turnoff Week. Take a look at Adbusters' audacious coverage of the event and, if you agree with the cause, spread the word. My honor's seminar in Thinking and Writing at Seton Hill University is using this week to perform an assigned "activism" project which asks... (10:34 | 0 Trackbacks | 26 Comments)

Wednesday 12 April 2006

  • Tickling the Elmo - At Seton Hill University, our "smart classrooms" are equipped with these wonderful document projectors, called ELMOs. "ELMO" is the name of the company that makes these "visual presenters," but on our campus we use the term affectionately as a pet name for these two armed wonders. They work by... (07:23 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)

Wednesday 29 March 2006

  • Gifts for Professors - Hi Michael, I found your website by putting the phrase "recommendation letter appreciation gift" into Google. After reading your blog on writing recommendation letters I felt compelled to email you and ask you my question. A former professor of mine wrote a recommendation letter on my behalf for a... (14:44 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Saturday 25 March 2006

  • You Gotta Teach this Essay! - You Gotta Teach this Essay! is a new weblog (from the editors of Brevity), which allows teacher to recommend short, creative non-fiction and interesting memoirs for the classroom (especially, I'd imagine, the college writing classroom). A good resource with lots of good reads: this blog exists to share information on... (12:58 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)
  • You Gotta Teach this Essay! - You Gotta Teach this Essay! is a new weblog (from the editors of Brevity), which allows teacher to recommend short, creative non-fiction and interesting memoirs for the classroom (especially, I'd imagine, the college writing classroom). A good resource with lots of good reads: this blog exists to share information on... (12:58 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Tuesday 14 March 2006

  • How do you challenge and motivate gifted students? - Edutopia magazine -- published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation -- publishes a neat regular department called, "Sage Advice": a collection of tips from teachers in answer to a posed question. The latest issue's question is: How do you challenge and motivate gifted students? You can read my answer in... (00:19 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Tuesday 7 March 2006

  • Take an Activity Break - Hot on the heels of my posting about how to make lectures more permeable and interactive, Richard Reis' wonderful resource, Tomorrow's Professor, has posted a very helpful essay advocating the use of "Activity Breaks" to enhance and increase class participation. Since the attention span of almost all students is between... (12:24 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Monday 27 February 2006

  • The Permeable Lecture - In one of my classes this morning, I caught one student repeatedly turning to another and talking. I couldn't tell what they were talking about -- the weekend? the weather? or was it related to my discussion point? -- but I interrupted anyway, as I usually do, to remind the... (15:32 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Wednesday 15 February 2006

  • The "Dissent-O" Writer's Worskhop - I'm teaching an advanced creative writing course this semester, and for the past few weeks we've been having full-class workshops of short fiction. The teacher's role here is to facilitate collaborative learning across the class, by having students share their editorial assessment of stories with an eye toward helping a... (16:53 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Wednesday 8 February 2006

  • Crunching the One Hour Class - For the past -- what? -- seven years or so, I've been spoiled. Virtually all my classes have been either hour-and-a-halfers (i.e., a "Tuesday/Thursday" schedule) or 3 hour night classes. But this term I've got a pair of one hour (Mon/Wed/Fri) writing classes. Make that 50 minutes each, with 10... (18:04 | 0 Trackbacks | 10 Comments)

Thursday 5 January 2006

  • When the Professor Wrote the Textbook - I recently contributed a chapter to a forthcoming 2nd edition of a book called Writing Horror which could, ostensibly, become a textbook I assign some day. I've been thinking, too, about writing an outright writing instruction text in the near future. The longer I do this, the more closely aligned... (22:58 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)

Wednesday 14 December 2005

  • Digital Gumbo - In my research for a presentation on "Teaching with Film" this week, I came across Richard H. Dery's excellent article, "Digital Gumbo" (available at the thoughtful and often humorous webzine for teachers, Faculty Shack). In it, Dery talks about his design of an online tutorial in literary "character" that utilizes... (21:31 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Friday 2 December 2005

  • Norman Who? - Pop quiz (for extra credit points): "What group invaded the British Isles from France about a thousand years ago (one point), and in what year (one point)?" For the (in)correct and (sad but) true answers, see Tenser, said the Tensor. *** Hilarious, but I felt a little guilty laughing at... (05:44 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Monday 28 November 2005

  • On Updating Handouts - Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a small series of new handouts on the topic of source citation for my Composition class and, among them, attached a page of a sampling of cited sources from an older handout to the batch. As I looked over the sources, I realized that... (11:05 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Wednesday 16 November 2005

  • Getting Off the Burnout Track - I was interviewed by Kendra Hamilton for the just-published article, "Getting Off the Burn-Out Track" -- part of a series about important faculty career trends in the latest issue of Diverse magazine. In the article, Hamilton sheds light on the ramifications of the waning of the tenure-track for academics seeking... (15:34 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Sunday 13 November 2005

  • "Highly Qualified" Teachers - Edutopia this month published "NCLB Confidential" -- an interesting article by Roberta Furger that explores a few elements of the No Child Left Behind Act that are often ignored because so much of the debates surrounding this act focus solely on the issue of testing and student accountability. I've written... (10:26 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Friday 21 October 2005

  • Musical Chairs - I was invited to give a talk with a colleague's small class yesterday. When I entered the room, I was taken aback by the way the students were seated: all were against the walls, spread around the room. I felt this was bizarre and so I immediately took a seat... (16:46 | 0 Trackbacks | 5 Comments)

Friday 23 September 2005

  • A Return to Taxonomy - In my entry "Remembering the Objective of Learning Objectives" two years ago, I wrote about Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and how it gives teachers a great way to think about course design -- from syllabus construction to assignments. This term, our campus is hosting "Teaching and Learning Forums" which... (23:23 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Thursday 8 September 2005

  • Are you a Softie or a Tyrant? - Shari Wilson does it again for Inside Higher Ed with an excellent essay on the attitudinal issues that teachers sometimes project in their classrooms, called "A Poor Desk-Side Manner." It's a very smart piece on how teachers sometimes slip into modes that are either too tyrannical or too softie. She... (17:13 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Monday 5 September 2005

  • The Difficulty Paper - In my Composition course this semester, I'm going to assign something called a "Difficulty Paper" -- a task in writing about the things students find difficult to understand when reading an essay, ranging from vocabulary to turns in an argument to theoretical references -- in response to an essay they'll... (15:12 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Monday 29 August 2005

  • Silly Banter on the First Day - Fall classes began today at SHU. On this morning's docket: an Honor's section of Freshman Composition. The first day is always an exciting one, since you start off class with a "clean slate" and get to meet brand new people that you're going to get to know rather well in... (17:39 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)

Tuesday 2 August 2005

  • The Tenure Package - Today I submitted my tenure package: a three binder set of documents about my teaching, scholarship, and service over the past seven years at Seton Hill University. Though the process is difficult, it feels liberating to have it out of my hands...and the process of assembling the portfolios and reflecting... (01:05 | 0 Trackbacks | 9 Comments)

Friday 29 July 2005

  • Teaching the Once-a-Week Course - Dennis Jerz' great Literacy Weblog alerted me to a new article up at Inside Higher Ed by Shari Wilson about the problems attached to night classes that meet for three hours, once a week, called "Once a Week is Not Enough". Wilson laments the lack of learning that happens in... (13:20 | 0 Trackbacks | 0 Comments)

Sunday 17 July 2005

  • Office Tips for Teachers - I'm the sort of person who likes to learn new tips and tricks for using my word processor. As both a writer and a teacher, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, so I find macros, shortcuts, and templates an invaluable resource for saving time and... (10:51 | 0 Trackbacks | 1 Comments)

Sunday 5 June 2005

  • Knock Knock Films - Who's there? Summer. I think. It's summertime, and while I'm still keeping busy with prep work for a summer residency for our Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, I've started wearing shorts again and doing some creative writing and generally trying to relax. On my agenda: finding ephemeral DVDs and watching... (13:32 | 0 Trackbacks | 2 Comments)

Sunday 29 May 2005

  • Grossing Out Teacher - Ever assign a creative writing exercise, and have a student go "too far"? I have. In fact, my personae as horror author seems to invite it. In my article, "Grossing Out Teacher: A Horror Writer in the Writing Classroom" -- just published in the latest issue of The Broadsheet --... (18:41 | 0 Trackbacks | 7 Comments)

Sunday 15 May 2005

  • How Freshman Summer Reading Projects Succeed - We held commencement exercises at Seton Hill yesterday. That means "summer break" is here, though there's still a little grading to be done, graduate modules to teach, five or six freshman orientation sessions to attend as advisor this summer (!), and other things I've been tasked to do as interim... (10:48 | 0 Trackbacks | 10 Comments)

Monday 2 May 2005

  • A Cello Lesson - Don't ask me how I stumbled upon this website for training cellists in mastering their instruments, but stumble I did...and my mind began to wander. Wouldn't it be fun to teach a class using activities like these? The Puppet: Pretend to pull a student's head up with an imaginary string.... (21:19 | 0 Trackbacks | 3 Comments)

Sunday 24 April 2005

  • Media Fasting - TV TurnOff Week (April 25-May 1, 2005) has officially begun. Do you have the guts to turn your television off for an entire week? Can you and the people you live with stand to miss an episode of your favorite show? Are you able to shun the television news... (14:00 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)

Friday 22 April 2005

  • The Work-for-Hire Plagiarist - Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 13:40:21 -0000 From: "writinglance" Subject: NEW FREELANCE PROJECTS on Directfreelance.com 4/21/2005 Dear Freelancers! Recent Projects: 4/21/2005 - #21192 Foucault Philosophy Term Paper ...Article/News/Press Release Writing/Editing I need a writer to write a 25-page term paper (double-spaced) on Foucault''s philosophy. I have an article that... (10:44 | 0 Trackbacks | 4 Comments)