The most important thing I have discovered about teaching is this: "Learning takes place in your head, not in my mouth." Nobody learns to be a good athlete by watching coaches play or a good musician by watching their teachers perform. Standing if front of a class of students and lecturing for 80 minutes is one of the least effective ways to promote student learning. Learning takes practice and active engagement with the material. I try to create an active classroom environment where I lead students through a variety of activities, including small group discussions, simulations, paired student brainstorming, students teaching sections of the class, and classroom "speed dating." The best class meetings are the ones where every student in the class is actively (and sometimes raucously) involved with mastering that day's material. By the way, if you want to know what classroom "speed dating" is, you may have to sign up for one of my classes. One of my favorite course projects is the blogs that my International Politics students write on a variety of issues in international relations. If you would like to see some of those blogs, feel free to visit our main course blog Irregular Blogging.
Brian Klunk, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science