Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, pepinsky.blogspot.com
January 11, 2012
I retired three years ago after teaching large and small criminal justice classes for 39 years. The large class I taught was my greatest teacher. In my alternative social control systems class at Indiana U required for criminal justice majors I learned:
• No personal lecture notes, let alone power point or outlines. When I lead in with a lecture, I don’t want students to be distracted from looking straight at me…read my lips, period.
• Watch my use of time. I may all off by myself have obsessed for hours about what I would say when I took the lecture floor, but basically, an hour or two of what I might have rehearsed ideally comes out in 20-30 minutes at most of 2 or 3 requests for response to my purposely outrageous/outlier propositions about social control.
• Grade not lest I be graded. I eventually worked out a system I called “grading by not grading” where I gave credits for turning in on-time essays for simply writing enough words about readings (eventually all online, no purchase necessary) and class conversation.
• Honor what my students and other guests to class teach me. To me, the biggest treat in a class is to recognize learning things I didn’t already know.
These were principal principles by which I came to teach. I love learning. I resist the idea of teaching what “we know.” May we learn better. Love and peace--hal