When you were in graduate school and on your way to becoming a faculty member did your professors urge you to "stay current in your field?" Mine did. Good scholars, I was told, must read esteemed articles in important journals and notable monographs in their respective fields. Thorough knowledge of our subject is part of what it means to be a
professor: one who professes to be some degree of an expert in a chosen field.
However, we university faculty are under a double obligation when it comes to "staying current." We all have at least two "fields" for which we are responsible. There is the "field" of our particular scholarly interest, our teaching subject, but there is also the "field" of our teaching itself. To be an excellent teacher requires both strong content knowledge and a high degree of skill in classroom or online delivery.
It seems hard enough to stay current in our academic field, though. Finding the additional time to read about the scholarship of teaching and learning can be a daunting task. One strategy is to commit to reading at least one book a year on the subject of teaching and learning. Over the course of a career, this could add up to a substantial number of volumes. My personal practice is to try to read at least two books (one "new" and one "classic") on teaching and learning each year.
I'd like to commend one "classic" work for you to investigate;
The Art of Teaching by Gilbert Highet. Highet was a popular professor of Classics at Columbia University. His book discusses the personality of the teacher, the teacher's methods and examples of great teachers and their students. It is a book with a general approach and focuses in on the methodology of teaching. As he put it, his book is about "not
what should be taught, but
how the teaching can be best done."
If you are interested in reading more, Camden Carroll Library has a copy of the book in the Main Collection, at 371.3 H638A. Happy reading!
– Christopher Beckham, Teaching Ambassador, College of Education