Monday, May 08, 2006

Common texts?

Next term, a number of colleagues in my department have decided to use a common text in a course we all teach (first year college writing). An ad hoc committee suggested a couple possibilities, and we chose one as a department, and then those who wanted to teach the text said yes, and those who didn't opted out (I guess; no one's made a big deal of that, but it was always an option).

So, this text isn't something I've taught before, nor much like stuff I've mostly taught before (it's not in verse, and it's not 300+ years old, for example). But it seems like a good, interesting choice.

Has anyone else out there worked with common texts across classes before?

Did you find good strategies for helping each other prepare to teach the text?

Did you try common assignments, joined discussions, or other strategies to help each other out?

I've taught a first year seminar program at another school, where we had mostly common books, and worked very hard for a couple weeks during the summer prepping. But that's my limited experience.

The problems there were sometimes with buy in, sometimes with confidence (how do I, as an X prof, teach texts from some other field?). But mostly the hard work paid off pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. Last summer I taught one of four sections of an intro to [subject] class. We had common readings and assignments but each instructor chose her (and we were all hers) pedagogy, so we had different classroom assignments, approaches, etc. We met a few times to talk through the course before it started and then met weekly to share ideas and talk through any tough spots. It seemed to work really well; we liked that our students were getting a common intro to the subject but we weren't bound to teach in a certain way , i.e., instructors before us had used common lesson plans. And we all had great student evaluations, so we did something right!