Koehler Event with Michael Wesch: Teaching Upside Down & The Quest for the Perfect Syllabus
Friday, September 23, 2016
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center, Room Cox A
Three years ago, in the midst of a teaching funk, an anthropology professor decided to use the tools of anthropology to figure out why his class was no longer connecting as deeply and how he could revitalize his teaching. Since then he has been taking his lunches with students and listening to their life stories. He has become a student again, challenging himself to learn new things to remind himself of all the struggles and joys of learning. He has even done anthropological fieldwork at frat parties, college bars, and midnight life-philosophy discussions on the rooftops of campus. From these studies, he has come to understand that students want more from their college experience than just the tools to make a living. They also want the wisdom to craft a life worth living, and they will need courage, passion and compassion to see it through. How can we craft our courses to speak to this? When we prepare to teach a class, we often spend a great deal of time deciding what we are going to teach, and sometimes how to teach it, but we spend less time contemplating the “big why” of our course, and perhaps even less time considering who our students are and who we want them to become. In this talk, we flip those questions upside down. We will come to understand our students more deeply, revisit our own best learning moments, and use these insights to craft a syllabus that is more than just curated content and speaks to the depth and dynamics of the journey our students are on.
About the Speaker
Dubbed “the prophet of an education revolution” by the Kansas City Star and “the explainer” by Wired Magazine, Wesch is a recipient of the highly coveted “US Professor of the Year” Award from the Carnegie Foundation. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society and education. His videos on culture, technology, education, and information have been viewed over 20 million times, translated in over 20 languages, and are frequently featured at international film festivals and major academic conferences worldwide. Wesch has won several major awards for his work, including a Wired Magazine Rave Award, the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology, and he was named an Emerging Explorer by National Geographic. After years of experimenting with social media and assessing the learning potential of these tools, Wesch argues that they don’t automatically foster significant learning or establish genuine empathy or meaningful bonds between professors and students. Using social media is but one of the many possible ways to connect, but the message that Wesch’s experimentation brings is that only genuine connections may restore the sense of joy and curiosity that we hope to instill in our students.
Koehler Event with Bobbi Patterson: How and Why Contemplative Pedagogies Can Help Student Learning at TCU
Friday, September 30, 2016
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Tucker Technology Center, Room 139
Co-sponsored by the AddRan College of Liberal Arts, Contemplative Studies Faculty Interest Group, Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence, Department of Religion, and Department of Sociology & Anthropology
In this interactive workshop, Bobbi Patterson will introduce participants to a variety of contemplative pedagogies. She will explain how using such pedagogies can help students learn better, and will provide concrete examples from her own teaching experience, such as how student understanding can be enriched through structured observation exercises, comparisons of ethical assumptions conveyed in class texts with students’ own ethics, and analysis of component parts of an argument or experience. She will also discuss techniques for assessing the success of contemplative pedagogies at facilitating student learning.
Dr. Patterson will present several modules during the workshop. Each will involve small-group work among faculty to clarify understandings and determine how a particular pedagogy might work in each instructor’s classes.
A boxed lunch will be provided for attendees who register for the workshop in advance.
NOTE: Attendees are requested to complete a brief survey before the workshop, so that Dr. Patterson can better tailor her presentation to your specific interests.
About the Speaker
Bobbi Patterson is Professor of Pedagogy in the Department of Religion at Emory University, and a nationally known expert in contemplative pedagogies. Dr. Patterson’s scholarship focuses on questions of place and space in relation to cultural, social, and life systems. Her interests in lived religion in communities also draw on theories and practices of Christian and Buddhist contemplative studies. Coordinating the Religion and Ecology Collaborative of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, she shares scholarly interest in how and when nature, ethics, and urban communities interact and generate resilience. With a longstanding commitment to the scholarship of teaching and learning, she remains engaged in various pedagogical projects focused on community and civic engagement, place-based pedagogies, and the discovery of richer paradigms for assessment.