Teaching: suggestions, advice and mentoring

For faculty the time between semesters includes reflecting on the previous semester, developing and revising courses, and adopting a few teaching resolutions.

Over the years, I have spent many hours during the breaks between terms updating class plans for the next term. I often read books, articles and blog posts related to teaching for inspiration and strategies.

So I read Shayla Love’s New York Times article on seeking and assessing advice — ”How Should You Be? Try Taking Suggestions” — with interest to see how her insights could apply to teachers.

Love’s article included her research on the origin of the suggestion box and interviews with five university faculty who study different aspects of advice – from communication science to workplace psychology.

One of the people Love interviewed was University of Chicago philosopher Dr. Agnes Callard. Dr. Callard discussed the differences between instructions, suggestions, advice, and mentorship. And all of these apply to reflecting on and improving your teaching.

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