Who and What is this?

My name is Jan and I teach at a small college/conservatory in the middle of nowhere. Teaching is a passion and an avocation for me. I have a lot of ideas about every facet of teaching from the minutae to the big picture, and I love to experiment. I also find that few people share their process of designing an activity or lesson plan–preparing to teach is often an internal monologue of “I wonder ifs…”. This blog is a place to share my internal monologue, chronicle/evaluate my experiments, air my ideas, and discuss them. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Teaching Matters will generally consist of two things: general teaching ideas and specific activities that I’m exploring at the moment.

The general teaching ideas tend to be big-picture things like classroom policies, where I embrace a lot of non-traditional practices.  Writing about the why/what/how helps me clarify my own thoughts, which helps me communicate with students, which helps us learn more effectively.  I am making these ideas public because a wide range of people tend to be interested in these topics [from primary school teachers to college-level teachers to people who don’t teach for a living].

The posts about specific activities stem from my compulsion to regularly change and tweak my classes and teaching. My plan is to preview the activity here, report on how it went, and evaluate it. I am making this process public because I want to share and collect the activities, but I don’t want to support the textbook-publishing industry. Please feel free to use any activities and, if you would, report back on how it went. This semester, Fall 2012, I plan on incorporating a new activity in every aural skills class I teach. The goal is to expand their knowledge of musical possibilities by incorporating non-common practice musics (from my American standpoint, that is) on a daily basis.

When appropriate, please give credit when credit is both due and easy to give [don’t interrupt the flow of a class just to do it!].

Summer 2015 update: after a two-year hiatus to wrk as an associate dean for academic affairs, I’m delighted to be returning to the classroom next Fall, and also to blogging about teaching.

experiments, opinions, and dialogues... join in the fun!