Today I welcome to the show Dr. Terese Huston to talk about teaching what you don’t know.
Guest: Therese Huston
Faculty Development Consultant, Seattle University
Author: Teaching What You Don’t Know
Therese Huston received her B.A. from Carleton College and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. She was also awarded a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship with the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. Therese was the Founding Director of CETL (now the Center for Faculty Development) and served as Director from 2004 to 2010. Drawing upon her background in cognitive science, she has spent the past decade helping smart faculty make better decisions about their teaching. Her first book, Teaching What You Don't Know, was published by Harvard University Press (2009).
If I could go back to my 28-year-old self and give her one piece of advice, it would be to talk to a content expert.
I wish I had offered to take an expert to coffee once a week to brainstorm what I should be teaching.
Teaching is more than just knowing every single detail there is to know; teaching is much more about stimulating learning.
You have to be thinking, “I’ve got to do something that I know well, but if I’m going to be the best teacher I can be to my students I’ve also got to teach them some things that are perhaps outside of my comfort zone.”
No one can be an expert on this material, and what I’m going to be doing is to always look for the most recent, most important topic that I can be teaching you.
If I’m doing a good job up here, I’m going to be pushing the boundaries of what I know.
Teaching what you don’t know looks at it from two perspectives:
- A subject you don’t know
- A group of students you don’t understand
Things unique to people who experience minimal anxiety when teaching outside of their expertise:
- They had a choice about whether or not to teach the subject
- They addressed the “imposter issue” with their students
- They embraced a teaching philosophy that emphasizes the idea: “I don’t need to master the material”
You have just been assigned to teach a course outside of our expertise. What are the most important steps to take in preparing to teach it?
- Tell someone (deal with the imposter issue)
- Find five syllabi for similar courses online
- Get a timer and start practicing preparing for your class in set chunks of time.
Licorice tea: See on Amazon*
Book: Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and the Art of Receiving Feedback*
Book: Difficult Conversations*
Podcast about Book: Coaching for Leaders: Episode 143