by Ashton Wesner, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 E157AC: Engineering, The Environment, and Society is the only American Cultures course offered in the College of Engineering. I was thrilled to teach students pursuing rigorous scientific training with an interest in social theory. However, I encountered Continue Reading >>
by Abigail Stepnitz, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 We often ask students, either as part of a discussion or on an exam, to express an opinion on a complicated topic. What we’re hoping they’ll do is develop and defend a position based on close readings and Continue Reading >>
by Brian Judge, Political Science Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 Challenge: Introduction to Political Theory is either the beginning or the end of students’ engagement with political theory at Cal: interested students may go on to enroll in further political science courses, but (statistically speaking) many will stop after the Continue Reading >>
by Bristin Jones, Comparative Literature Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 In my first semester teaching Reading and Composition (R&C) in the Comparative Literature department, I realized that one of the most significant challenges undergraduates face in engaging with literary texts is producing thought-provoking thesis statements and arguments. After years of Continue Reading >>
by Marianne Kaletzky, Comparative Literature
One of the core principles of literary analysis is that the form of literature — the language an author uses, the way he or she structures the text, and the stylistic conventions he or she employs — means as much as the content. … I wanted to help my students not only to become more attentive to formal features, but also to understand why those formal features matter … To cultivate this understanding, I decided to give my students an unconventional writing assignment …
by Jordan Greenwald, Comparative Literature
I…came to realize that this lesson could not be learned through class discussion alone, since asking these questions while leading discussion is pedagogically less effective than getting students to ask those questions themselves. I therefore decided, with the encouragement of my co-instructor, to design a group assignment that would familiarize students with the choices one makes when bringing a dramatic text to life.
by Laurence Coderre, East Asian Languages and Cultures
My…students were having difficulty understanding how to approach literary texts beyond the simple recapitulation of plot. Focusing on what a given reading said, they rarely considered the significance of how it was conveyed….Ming dynasty xiao pin wen, or “short personal essays,” in which authors write in great detail about frivolous or mundane things, offered me an opportunity to address this concept, and students’ difficulties in grappling with it, head on.
by Mark Fisher, Political Science
This…made me think quite differently about the GSI’s role in section…While our first impulse is often to try and “translate” the lecture into an idiom they are more comfortable with, this experience convinced me that the greatest service we can perform for students is to teach them the skills needed to speak our language.
by Sarah Chihaya, Comparative Literature
How could I possibly communicate the intertextual quality central to the novel’s style to my students, when most of them didn’t have the exhaustive literary and historical background that Pynchon’s proliferating cultural references — which swing wildly from erudite literary digs, to Sixties-specific pop cultural allusions, to puerile humor — seem to demand?
by Ermine Fidan Elcioglu, Sociology
In the beginning of the course, I argued that “reading” was not the same as “critically reading” something. I distributed a worksheet that enumerated the questions I wanted students to be actively thinking about when they read a text…In order to practice this skill, I devoted every other section to critically reading a carefully selected paragraph or set of paragraphs from the assigned readings.