Alternative Teaching Styles

The forum at the Chronicle of Higher Education lists ways to spice up your classes. Most of the suggestions are the sort of madly inappropriate things that teachers joke about doing but would never do, just to blow off steam. I found four in a row, however, that I think I could justify doing in a Communication class and still call it educational:

37. Bring a CPR dummy to class and announce that it will be the teaching assistant for the semester. Assign it an office and office hours.

38. Have a grad student in a black beret pluck at a bass while you lecture.

39. Sprint from the room in a panic if you hear sirens outside.

40. Give an opening monologue. Take two minute “commercial breaks” every ten minutes.

Okay, maybe #39 is stretching it. But there’s something to be said about amusing ways to address youth subcultures (#38), television flow (#40), and … well, I don’t know about the dummy either, but I’m sure I could link it back to The Media Equation through some convoluted explanation. Of course, this is coming from someone who admires teaching strategies like grading a game design course out of a million points. Not that I think that teachers should make learning easy or that it’s our job to “edutain” students (see Mark Edmundson’s article “On the uses of a liberal education: 1. As lite entertainment for bored college students”); I’m just more a fan of the object lesson than straight-up lecturing. Also, I like dummies.

One thought on “Alternative Teaching Styles

  1. A certain information design professor engaged in #8: Pick out random students, ask them questions, and time their responses with a stop watch. Record their times in your grade book while muttering “tsk, tsk.”

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