Being Better Presentation Reflection: Cask of Amontillado

Thoughts on Teaching Presentations

April 23rd, 2008 Professor Sample

Thank you all so much for the continuing thoughts, reflections, and comments on the first round of teaching presentations.  We’ve generated a tremendous amount of productive conversation on this blog over the course of the semester, and this week was no exception. There was a shared anxiety about the teaching presentations that I had wanted to address here, but Edith already did it very nicely:

There seems to be a recurring theme here: I should have done this, It wasn’t the lesson I wanted to teach. Because there is this repetition, I don’t feel so bad saying the same thing again. THIS WAS NOT A REAL CLASS AND THIS WAS VERY HARD TO DO.
We were actually asked to do two things at once: both teach a class and explain why we did what we are doing.

Edith is exactly right here. I am asking you to do two things at once: to teach a lesson and to explain at the same time why you’re doing it.

I recognize that this is extraordinarily difficult. As if teaching weren’t hard enough already, I’m asking you to “go meta” in the actual process of it. What we need is some sort of VH1-style pop-up bubbles to annotate yourself. This is why I’m fascinated with Karen’s idea to film her lesson. If we had enough time and resources, we’d have everyone film themselves teaching, and then annotate the footage with the explanations and rationales that I’m asking you to give during the presentation. It’d be a refinement of the “think aloud” videos from early in the semester. Except instead of a think aloud, it’d be a “teach aloud.”

The value of this very blog space is that it lets us come close to this annotated presentation. We can use the blog reflections to say what didn’t work or what we had wanted to do in an ideal world, but it’s also important to think through what did work, given the strange nature of the teaching presentation, the 20 minute time limit, and the other artificial constraints. And in general — and I think you’ve all recognized this in your reflections — there was a lot that did work, or at the very least, a lot that gestured to what would work in a real classroom. (Not that ours isn’t a real classroom, but you know what I mean.)

Keep up the good work.

Entry Filed under: Teaching Presentations

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ENGL 610:002 // Spring 2008

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