Preventing Fear

I dreamt the other night that I went to the first day of class as a student, an upper division or graduate class of some kind. About 20 students. The professor walks in and begins an interactive lecture. I realize I don’t understand what he’s talking about.

I look around and see that each of the other students has a stack of about 7 books. Seeing I’m lost, a helpful student opens one and points to a chapter for me. But it’s obvious from the way the professor is talking that everyone has read this already. Before the first day of class. Everyone is quite literally “on the same page”, and I have no idea what’s being discussed.

I’m thinking now, as I plan for workshops next week for faculty, whether faculty feel the same way. They come to the workshops, and it seems like they were supposed to know something before they came, but they don’t know what. I need a place to start to make them comfortable.

The emphasis on pedagogy, rather than technology, is one way to do that. We all can talk about teaching, classrooms, our students. Not everyone is online. If the approach is to take ones teaching methods, and apply them in a different environment, it not only properly de-emphasizes technology, it may increase the comfort level in seminars. My colleague Jim Sullivan did this so effectively last fall, and it’s an approach we all need to take as we help faculty navigate the technology for what it is: just a toolset for achieving your pedagogical goals.

1 comment to Preventing Fear

  • I think it’s good for us as faculty to try and learn something new so we can remember what it feels like to be afraid, and not want to feel stupid. And probably good for students to know we have this fear at times also. Interesting post.