Wednesday, August 1, 2018

6 of 58 for 58: Challenge What You Think You Know

This quarter I'm teaching "Communication for Managers" at the Naval Postgraduate School. I'm teaching two sections. That makes it the 7th and 8th time I've taught the course since January 2017. 

My comfort level in teaching the course continues to increase. To date, I'm delighted with how it's going this time around. I'm confident I'm continuing to "raise my teaching game."

As I teach the course I continue to generate ideas for improving it. That includes offering it online this fall. To pursue them further, I sought guidance from the school's faculty development specialist.

After speaking with her only a few minutes I realized two things. First, there are far more opportunities than I had realized to improve the course. Second, and more importantly, I had decided to challenge what I thought I knew about teaching. That's what allowed such options to appear before me. 

I find it far too easy to rest on my laurels, i.e., good teaching evaluations in this instance. Besides, I spend a lot of time preparing and delivering my courses. And I keep them fresh and interesting as a matter of course. Why rock the boat? Why venture beyond the familiar? 

Because here's the bottom line: I've been teaching for 20 years, and what I don't know dwarfs what I think I know. I still have a lot to learn about teaching. What I know serves me well, but only for now. Students change. Technology evolves. The art and science of teaching develops further. What I don't know limits my growth--and my students' learning. 

That's why I need to challenge what I think I know. Not just about teaching, but about all areas of my life. 

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