Philosophy of Pedagogy (1000-2000 Level Courses)
|Like teachers, professors teach. Unlike teachers, professors actually construct the courses they teach. The courses they design are products of their education, of their general research in the area of the discipline they are teaching, and of their own particular research projects. So all university courses are unique, even different sections of the same course (like introductory sociology).|
|In my case this means I do not use textbooks for those available fail to correspond with the courses I design. This places a great deal of responsibility on both me and you. On me to present clear and coherent lectures, always taking pains to demonstrate where each of the lectures fits in the overall context of the course. On you to take excellent lecture notes.|
|Your lecture notes are your record of the course; they are - so to speak - your textbook created by yourself. Now taking lecture notes is a messy business; they are almost certainly to be replete with repetition, false starts, even mistakes. I strongly urge you at propitious moments (like the end of a course unit) to return to your rough notes in order to revise them - to eliminate the repetition and mistakes, and to emphasize the important themes. You must realize that what you knew when taking the rough notes is not what you know on completion of the unit. Your notes - your textbook created by you - must reflect your later and greater understanding.|
To encourage the more profound comprehension that results from the constant confrontation with your lecture notes, I require you in the introductory course to submit at appropriate times your lecture notes for evaluation. Needless to say, missing classes, scrambling to borrow others' rough notes, or engaging in the revision exercise at the last moment is not conducive the production of a coherent package of lecture notes. Remember, these notes are your textbook, containing the material utilized by you when studying for examinations.
|Finally, in my lectures I like to use inductive explanation - reasoning from particular examples (about which questions are posed and puzzles raised) to the general principle or conclusion. This means that you will not know where I am going until I get there. This places a severe burden on the "doing" of lecture notes, rendering the procedure I suggested above all the more vital.|