This is the first of what I hope are many posts, regarding creativity in the college classroom. And if all goes according to plan, I won’t be writing all of them.
I have been teaching since 1997, and have learned much about the art of teaching in that time. And yes, it is an art. Those who practice it well create something beautiful, something lasting, and something worthy of sharing with the world. That is one of the three basic premises of this blog. The second is that artists cannot develop their art in a vacuum, or worse, in an echo chamber. I hope that this blog can become a space for teachers to engage with each other in an effort to share their thoughts, experiences, and explorations. I, for one, will also be sharing my failures (which can be more instructive than my successes.)
In particular, as the title of this blog indicates, I am interested in creativity. How do we stay creative in the classroom, especially as we repeatedly teach the same material? How do we inspire our students to think, speak, and write creatively? What place might creativity have in our administrative responsibilities? Certainly, I do not have all the answers. This is why I hope that many of my friends, co-workers, and fellow pedagogical artists (at our various levels of experience) will supply me with guest posts. Specifically, I hope to have guest posts from people in other fields: mathematics, languages, classics, music performance, etc. This is the third basic premise of this blog: we must get outside of our comfort zone if we are going to learn something new. I have come to learn how easy it is to live in a pedagogical bubble. It’s time for that bubble to be burst.
This third premise is something I have come to appreciate more and more over the past few years. My own research has greatly benefitted from discussions with friends in other fields, who challenged some of my assumptions, questioned some of my conclusions, and put books in my hands that I otherwise never would have read. (I mean that literally. At the last MLA conference, one of my closest friends literally started putting books in my hands, insisting that I must buy them and read them. She was very insistent. And very right.)
And so I begin this blog with only a vague idea of what it might become. I have a few posts in mind, and I hope to get to them soon. A few friends have agreed to supply me with guest posts, which I eagerly look forward to reading. Because truth be told, I’m really starting this blog for purely selfish reasons: I want to learn from the collective experience of the many great teachers out there. And if this blog can provide something of value to others, all the better.