It is a big book. A big book, to be sure, but all the information seems important enough to warrant inclusion. Filled to the spine with techniques that were not only applicable to all university instructors (with or without adaptation), but also explained in a way that is easy to read. Having only a few pages to read on each technique made everything a lot less overwhelming and, in my opinion, encourages adaption of techniques to individual needs instead of immediate adoption without additional thought. But, not only did the book include a lot of useful information for present and future me in designing classes, it also helped on a more personal level, although such is probably not the intention of the authors per se, but a serendipitous result of my training so far.
Because, reflecting what I stated yesterday, this book boosted my confidence. For a while now, I’ve been feeling like I don’t know enough to be a good instructor. Of course, such is to be expected at this point, as teaching is a skill that must be built over time, due to both personal experience in a classroom and reading through a large literature. Both of which take quite a while.
For instance, showing off my lack of knowledge, for a while now, I’ve always thought that student feedback is the only option to present information on learning, beyond providing copies of the instructions for class requirements. I do want to give the book a better read (which seems to be a repeating theme in my book reviews), but there were a few new ideas that stuck with me quite well. For example, because I try my best to make each course applicable to students’ lives (e.g., including advice from psychology in lectures/readings, designing activities that promote introspection), having the application cards would be a good idea. Therefore, not only would they have the applications I discuss, but their own as well, which are probably more personal than I could ever hope to design myself. And, with permission, of course, I could use the ideas of past students when redoing the class with future students.
However, contradicting my lack of knowledge, because I read things in this book I was already vaguely familiar with (e.g., minute paper, muddiest point), maybe I’m at a better place than I thought. But, if not, I’ve got this book (and the others) to help. I’ve just got to take some more time to give it a thorough look. And, as soon as the semester ends, I will have much more time (or, at least expect to have much more time). So, these books are going to be one of my summer projects. I’ve learned a bunch just through skimming, so I’m excited for what I will learn with a solid read!