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Teaching What You Don't Know | [Therese Huston]

Teaching What You Don't Know

Your graduate work was on bacterial evolution, but now you're lecturing to 200 freshmen on primate social life. You've taught Kant for twenty years, but now you're team-teaching a new course on "Ethics and the Internet". The personality theorist retired and wasn't replaced, so now you, the neuroscientist, have to teach the "Sexual Identity" course. Everyone in academia knows it and no one likes to admit it: faculty often have to teach courses in areas they don't know very well.
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Publisher's Summary

Your graduate work was on bacterial evolution, but now you're lecturing to 200 freshmen on primate social life. You've taught Kant for twenty years, but now you're team-teaching a new course on "Ethics and the Internet". The personality theorist retired and wasn't replaced, so now you, the neuroscientist, have to teach the "Sexual Identity" course.

Everyone in academia knows it and no one likes to admit it: faculty often have to teach courses in areas they don't know very well. The challenges are even greater when students don't share your cultural background, lifestyle, or assumptions about how to behave in a classroom.

In this practical and funny book, an experienced teaching consultant offers many creative strategies for dealing with typical problems. How can you prepare most efficiently for a new course in a new area? How do you look credible? And what do you do when you don't have a clue how to answer a question?

Encouraging faculty to think of themselves as learners rather than as experts, Therese Huston points out that authority in the classroom doesn't come only, or even mostly, from perfect knowledge. She offers tips for introducing new topics in a lively style, for gauging students' understanding, for reaching unresponsive students, for maintaining discussions when they seem to stop dead, and - yes - for dealing with those impossible questions.

Original, useful, and hopeful, this book reminds you that teaching what you don't know, to students whom you may not understand, is not just a job. It's an adventure.

The book is published by Harvard University Press.

©2009 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2012 Redwood Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"This is one of the best books I've read on university teaching and learning in a long time. It addresses an issue that's seldom discussed, in a book that's both carefully researched and wonderfully sparkling in style." (Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do)

"It may surprise librarians how many teachers and administrators seek out this book." (Booklist)

"The hints and tips provided here will be valuable perhaps everywhere that there is a higher education system... .Huston does, moreover, dig up issues that have become ever more pressing over the past few years." (Times Higher Education Supplement)

What Members Say

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    K 03-18-14
    K 03-18-14
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    "Story - great. Narrator - meh"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Teaching What You Don't Know to be better than the print version?

    I think this book would be better in print. A number of helpful tips and classroom exercises are given that I'd like to access repeatedly. Not as easy when an audible book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Teaching What You Don't Know?

    The sense that I'm not alone in experiencing feelings of fraudulency and inadequacy as a tertiary educator who is assigned classes outside my area of expertise.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Yes. I found the book to be witty and edgy. The narrator was almost robotic and the author's wonderful writing style was not communicated as effectively as it could have been.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended for any tertiary educator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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