Friday, April 24, 2009

downpour: blogging helps improve my teaching.

If this blog is a  journal of what I'm reading and thinking about, then that helps my teaching.  With my comp students, I promote the value of informal prewriting exercises: forcing ourselves to work out our thoughts in writing certainly allows us to articulate our thoughts, but also allows us sharper clarity of thought.  By making an effort to write about literature and ideas, I'm clarifying and articulating my own thoughts.  Since a lot of my reading is for class, writing my thoughts certainly sharpens my teaching.  Furthermore, in the past year I read The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Namesake for pleasure, not directly for academic work.  I also blogged about some of my thoughts about reading these works.  Now I'm planning on teaching them in a lit course next fall--suddenly the extended time not just reading these books, but thinking about them and writing about them, perhaps contributed to my decision to include them, and certainly helps me prepare to teach them.

But it's not just the writing on this blog that helps me, but the reading.  I regularly check most of the links on the side.  That means I'm constantly learning about what books people are reading, what people think about particular books, how people are experiencing reading, current issues in literature, current issues in academia, how other teachers are approaching their work, contemporary theoretical issues, contemporary academic topics, etc. etc. etc.  Using these links as my regular reading list keeps me informed on subjects relevant to my teaching, as well as ideas that can be incorporated into my teaching.

Or is this what I try tell myself?

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