Academented

Corporatized Syllabi, Corporatized Faculty

“While we may not talk about it, we know a syllabus reveals a lot about our colleagues,” writes Linda Nilson in The Graphic Syllabus. The book, published in 2007, talks about how bureaucratized syllabus developed in response to various political pressures in higher ed, the old-style syllabus (which was simple and teacher-centered), and the learner-centered syllabus (which is guide-on-the-side and…

The VARK

Again. People are talking about the VARK again. Most research has discredited the VARK. Just Google it and you’ll see the debate pop up right away. But I still like it, the same way I like astrology, Tarot cards, and various other personality tests. The VARK is a framework that can over-determine or define people once we buy into it…

Status

The VARK and other learning styles

Look, let’s be frank. Some schools swear by the VARK. Some researches say the VARK has been disproven or no research has substantiated it. Due to my own academic training, which emphasized the metatheoretical and critical, I believe that something is useful and super-awesome until it’s not. To me, the VARK makes total sense, and whether or not it’s a legitimate framework or voodoo is irrelevant. There are other frameworks that I overlay with the VARK when I teach, but the VARK is language people understand. The problem, the MAIN problem is when teachers are unwilling to engage in pedagogy at all. They teach entirely from anecdote and subjectivity, and their teaching is solipsistic: “I know it when I see it,” and, secretly, “I teach to the way I learn best.” That, to me, is the most devastating to the classroom learning environment. I just needed to get that off my chest. Whew.

The Higher Ed Death Rattle

As of today, students pay a larger percentage of their tuition at state schools than the state does. The humanities died in higher education a long time ago. Now, higher education itself is under threat. Until academics realize we lost certain battles, and we move strategically to different grounds, we will continue to lose the war. The fault is ours.…

D&D and Mental Illness

What do the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the typical roleplaying game player’s handbook (PHB) have in common? The character typographies that both articulate are what Kenneth Burke would call “recipes for wise living, sometimes moral, sometimes technical” for fantasy worlds. Burke got this idea of recipes for living by analyzing proverbs…

Who gets to graduate?

I posted about the politics of grammar and desegregation in Baton Rouge before running into this morning’s NYT article on the graduation gap. Regardless of SAT scores and college aptitude, only 1 out of 6 students who come from low-income families will complete their college degrees, whereas 90% of children from the upper quartile will complete. “Who Gets to Graduate,”…

On Commas, Court Orders, and College Readiness

Sixty years ago the Supreme Court handed down the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Until around 2005 or so, give or take a year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system operated under a federal desegregation order, one of the longest running orders in the country. Today, Baton Rouge Community College continues to receive entering freshmen educated under that order. Due to the…

Gratitudes

Gratitudes: Burning Off and On

Keeping track of gratitudes helps keep me positive and appreciative. The only rule is people can't be on the list because there are too many to name. Focusing on the small things keeps me mindful. Here's my gratitudes for today.

1. Everyone who cares about how teachers teach and learners learn (cf http://chronicle.com/article/TeachingLearning-About/146403/)

2. Every teacher, professor, PODster, colleague, and faculty professional development expert who taught me about teaching.

3. Every administrator who realized that pedagogy and faculty professional development should be funded and supported institutionally.

4. Every student who put up with my insensitivities, failures, and experiments as a teacher.

What is Communication, Exactly?

The place of public speaking in the general education curriculum is constantly questioned. The image of communication majors in pop culture sheds light on why. Because “it’s kinda hard to put into words.” I experienced a moment of synchronicity to illustrate this. The moment is circular, a snake eating its tail. First, I received yet another email stating professional concern for…