Bok Blog

A Teaching Moment: Transformational Learning in Troubled Times

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif

By the measure of the academy’s institutional time, the distance between May and September is vast. It can be glimpsed through a telling shift in tone: at the end of spring, we give graduates wistful wisdom from the place they leave behind, while fall’s freshmen are welcomed with words of forward-looking hope—along with solemn admonitions to make the most of their college years.

An illuminating example of such an exhortation was given last year to the incoming class of 2018. In his first major address as… Read more about A Teaching Moment: Transformational Learning in Troubled Times

A Great Teacher Remembered

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif 

Daniel Albright, the late Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, passed away quite suddenly earlier this year. This unexpected loss offered an occasion for his friends, family, colleagues, and students to gather in gratitude for the many ways that Albright enriched their lives. To these warm, generous, and thankful reminiscences, I’d like to add my own, here on the Bok Blog, for a mentor and teacher who… Read more about A Great Teacher Remembered

Only Connect: Harvard's Active Learning Database

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif 

Sometime in between the leisure of summer and the last minute before the new term’s first class, forward-looking teachers will turn their minds towards the fall. When their preparation begins in earnest, skeletal syllabi will be fleshed out, and definite assignments and discrete tasks will be set. But, while good teachers know that it's never too late—nor too early!—to begin their course planning, they also know that even their best teaching techniques could be improved, and… Read more about Only Connect: Harvard's Active Learning Database

500 Pages of Summer

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif

For everyone whose schedule is shaped by the familiar rhythms of the academic year, from grade school to graduate school, the summer offers an oasis of otium.  To some, it is leisure in the strongest sense, a time to let an overworked mind lie fallow until fall. For others, the season brings the opportunity to make good on old commitments—those overdue book reviews, articles, or dissertation chapters—or to take on fresh ones, like learning a… Read more about 500 Pages of Summer

Coming up next, Harvard Horizons!

The Harvard Horizons experience will culminate in the much-anticipated Harvard Horizons Symposium, Wednesday, May 6 at 4:15pm in Sanders Theater. Presented by GSAS and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard Horizons is a showcase of the interesting research being performed by Harvard's graduate students.

The… Read more about Coming up next, Harvard Horizons!

Teaching Tips from the Department of English

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif

When the occasion arises—at departmental receptions, in the brief lull before meetings, or just around the water-cooler—, college instructors will swap teaching tips like good jokes. These tips are also like jokes in that, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, they “never seem to have an author”: they come from nowhere, circulate haphazardly, and their dissemination is often… Read more about Teaching Tips from the Department of English

Ignorance, Expertise, and Hard Questions in the Classroom

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif

Every teacher knows the feeling: the panic that comes when a student asks a question whose answer isn’t immediately within reach. For most teachers, a stuttering response—or even a blank moment of thunderstruck silence—is preferable to the simple, honest, but embarrassing answer of “I don’t know.” Yet why should an admission of ignorance (especially in response to an excellent question) feel like a needless surrender of hard-won credibility, if not a tacit admission of professional guilt?

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The Scholar’s Art: Assessing Creative Assignments

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Stephen Tardif

On a Thursday morning in early March, the current cohort of Departmental Teaching Fellows gathered for a meeting with the Bok Center’s Director of Media, Literacy, and Visualization in a spacious room in the Science Center. Awaiting them there were two cameras trained on a bald man with a beaming smile whose laptop screen was being broadcast back onto a flatscreen TV behind him.

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Five Ways to Reduce Ableism in the College Classroom

This is a guest post from Bok Blog contributor Aubry Threlkeld

More students with disabilities are attending college and few college teachers feel prepared to support them. Instead of going into detail about ways you can support specific students with specific needs, I am writing about general strategies you can use to reduce bias and animus against disabled students, termed ableism, and increase accessibility in your own class or section for all students. These may not be appropriate for all settings or may need additional layers to be applied thoroughly but I think they… Read more about Five Ways to Reduce Ableism in the College Classroom