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It’s Worth Discussing

Articles for Discussion and Personal Reflection

Faculty learn a lot about teaching by talking to each other. They share strategies, discuss problems, ask each other questions and pass on good ideas. They offer advice, make suggestions, and state opinions. Their exchanges may be brief and informal, ongoing and structured, or online or in person. No matter where or how they occur, the conversations improve if they’re informed—filled with good ideas and information that go beyond what an individual teacher has learned experientially. And that’s what we aspire to offer: a collection of articles filled with good instructional content. They’re articles worth discussing—provocative, stimulating, and informative.

Use the articles referenced in this collection for individual reflection. Discuss them—with a colleague, with a group that meets in person or virtually, or with regularly meeting faculty reading or discussion groups.

What’s included?

  • A statement about why we selected the article
  • A reference to the article, including the journal URL
  • A summary of the article
  • Key quotations for you to use to structure the discussion, remind you of the content, or cover someone who hasn’t done the reading

Each guide also includes questions for you to start the discussion, keep it going, or conclude it, but you might choose to ignore these. After all, we’ve tried to select articles so interesting that discussion will start and carry on without any prompting.

We’ve selected articles that

  • raise questions, point out issues, and challenge current thinking;
  • are well-written, organized, accessible, and readable (but not always easy);
  • have relevance to lots of readers and apply to teaching in different content areas;
  • are not how-to-teach pieces that propose straightforward solutions or definitive ways of doing things;
  • address timeless issues—those fundamental, enduring aspects of teaching and learning;
  • take a novel approach, advance a unique or unusual perspective, or offer new ideas;
  • make readers want to talk more about the content; and
  • are “classics” or destined to become them.

By the way, if you’ve got an article you’d recommend for inclusion in the collection, we’d love to have the reference. Send it to me at grg@psu.edu.

—Maryellen Weimer

The Cognitive Challenges That Complicate Learning
Exploring the Dimensions of Online Discussion
Using End-of-Course Ratings to Improve Instruction
Does Active Learning Work?
Critical Thinking: As a Course Goal and in Assignments

Giving Students Assignments They Hate
Being There for Students