The Chicago Handbook for Teachers, Second Edition: A Practical Guide to the College Classroom / Edition 2

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Unlike their counterparts on the secondary or primary school level, many who teach in colleges and universities have extensive training in their various disciplines, but surprisingly little instruction in the craft of teaching itself.. "The Chicago Handbook for Teachers is an extraordinarily helpful guide for all who face the challenge of putting together material for a course and then making it work. Representing teachers at all stages of their careers, the authors offer practical advice for almost any situation a new instructor or lecturer might face, from preparing a syllabus to managing classroom dynamics.. "Indispensable for new teachers and graduate students, The Chicago Handbook for Teachers is also a useful refresher for experienced professionals.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
All teachers must start somewhere, but teaching that first class can be tough. While college instructors are usually trained extensively in their specific disciplines, they are seldom trained in how to deal with the actual classroom. The authors try to remedy that situation with this manual. Although meant primarily for beginning teachers, this work is so packed with useful information that experienced teachers could also benefit from reading it. Included are the basics, such as how to plan courses and implement lessons, as well as little-known tips, e.g., use commercial photocopier companies to obtain any permissions a teacher might need. Preparing a syllabus, leading classroom discussions, lecturing, avoiding cheating--it's all here! The authors caution readers on two points: 1) It would be difficult for any teacher to use all of the suggestions provided in this book, and 2) because all of the authors are historians, the "common experience in a single discipline" has undoubtedly shaped what's presented. While this book is economical enough for teachers to purchase on their own, it's also a good buy for most public and academic libraries.--Terry A. Christner, Hutchinson P.L., KS Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Offers practical advice for almost any situation a new teacher might face, from preparing a syllabus to managing classroom dynamics. Begins with a basic plan for designing a course, then explains how to lead a discussion, evaluate teaching, deliver lectures, supervise writing and research, and create and grade exams. Other sections address less straightforward aspects of teaching, such as dealing with diversity issues, relationships with students, and using the Internet and electronic resources. Brinkley teaches history at Columbia University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226075273
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2011
  • Series: Chicago Guides to Academic Life Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of History and former provost at Columbia University, where he received the Great Teacher Award. Betty Dessants is associate professor of history at Shippensburg University. Esam El-Fakahany is professor of psychiatry, pharmacology, and neuroscience at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Michael Flamm is professor of history at Ohio Wesleyan University. Charles Forcey, Jr., is a PhD candidate in modern American intellectual history at Columbia University. Mathew L. Ouellett is director of the Center for Teaching at the University of Massachussets Amherst. Eric Rothschild is a history teacher who retired in 1998 as chair of the social studies department at Scarsdale High School.

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Read an Excerpt

The Chicago Handbook for Teachers

A Practical Guide to the College Classroom

By Alan Brinkley, Betty Dessants, Michael Flamm, Cynthia Fleming, Charles Forcey, and Eric Rothschild

University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2003

University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-226-07512-5


This book has a very simple purpose. It is designed to offer practical
advice to teachers of college courses-advice on how to navigate many of
the most common challenges they are likely to face in and out of the
classroom. We expect it to be particularly helpful to beginning teachers;
but we believe experienced teachers will find the book useful and
rewarding as well.

The project had its origins in a conversation about teaching at a meeting
of the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians several
years ago, when two of the authors were members of the board. There was
general agreement among the experienced scholars and teachers present that
day that most beginning college instructors-graduate students having their
first experiences as teaching assistants, new Ph.D.'s starting their first
teaching jobs-received little or no training in how to deal with the
classroom before they entered it. Primary and secondary school teachers
ordinarily receive teacher training in education schoolsor departments.
College and university teachers, by contrast, are usually trained
intensively in their disciplines (history, English, economics, physics,
and so on), but seldom in the craft of teaching itself. There is a
growing, and heartening, movement in some graduate programs to incorporate
teacher training into the traditional curriculum. But it remains the case
that many, perhaps most, new college teachers design their courses and
enter their classrooms for the first time without very much guidance from
anyone. This book was written with them in mind. We call it a "handbook"
because, while we think many teachers may wish to read it in its entirety,
we believe others may wish to consult it periodically for help in dealing
with particular questions or problems.

We do not claim here to present a coherent theory of teaching or learning.
There are many such theories, and they are the subject of a large and
valuable literature produced by scholars of education and others. Our
goal, however, is the simpler one of answering common logistical questions
and using our own experiences in the classroom to offer ideas and lessons
that we think other teachers might find useful. In ten relatively brief
chapters, we have tried to present practical suggestions for dealing with
some of the basic aspects of college teaching: designing a course,
preparing for the first class, leading a discussion, managing classroom
dynamics, delivering a lecture, supervising research and writing, giving
and grading exams, evaluating your own teaching, dealing with diversity
issues, and making use of new electronic resources.

There are, needless to say, many issues related to teaching that this book
does not address, and many ideas, techniques, and innovations for the
classroom beyond those we have included. Both new and experienced teachers
have many other resources from which they can draw as they try to improve
their students', and their own, classroom experiences. We suggest some
such resources in our brief bibliography, but there are also many others.

One problem that all teachers face to which we cannot offer any simple
solutions is the problem of time. People outside the academic world often
think of college or university teachers as people who live uniquely
leisured lives. Those of us who actually work in academia know otherwise.
Many of us enjoy more extended vacations than do people in most other
professions, it is true. But during the teaching year, we are often
compelled to balance an overwhelming number of commitments and
responsibilities within a painfully short period of time: teaching
classes, advising, grading, serving on committees, commuting, meeting
obligations to families and communities, and so forth. Some teachers have
very heavy course loads and can find very little time for each of the many
preparations demanded of them. Other teachers have part-time jobs,
sometimes several of them, and must scramble to find new work even as they
are finishing the old. Many college teachers have to balance their
teaching obligations against the pressure to do research and to publish,
which are often prerequisites to professional survival.

No one will have time to implement all the suggestions in this book-let
alone the many other ideas and suggestions available in other sources.
Some people will have little time for any of them. We realize, therefore,
that our prescriptions for teaching successfully will, in the world most
teachers inhabit, need to be balanced against what is possible in
pressured and difficult professional lives.

But teaching is a cumulative art. We learn over time, just as our students
do. Things you have no time to try one year may be possible in another. A
course that begins shakily may improve after two or three tries, and as
you slowly incorporate new methods and techniques into your teaching. You
should not be discouraged when the realities of your professional life
make it hard to enhance your teaching quickly. Do what you can in the time
you have, and over several years-if you keep working at it-your teaching
will get better.

All of the authors of this book are historians, and our common experience
in a single discipline has undoubtedly shaped the way we think about
teaching. Teachers of English or psychology or chemistry or any other
discipline would undoubtedly produce a rather different book. But almost
everything we present here is, we believe, applicable to teaching in other
fields-certainly to other disciplines in the humanities and social
sciences, much of it also to the natural sciences and to the professional

Teaching, particularly for the first time, can be a lonely and
intimidating experience. We hope that the material we present here will
make the experience less daunting and more rewarding-both for instructors
and for their students.


Excerpted from The Chicago Handbook for Teachers
by Alan Brinkley, Betty Dessants, Michael Flamm, Cynthia Fleming, Charles Forcey, and Eric Rothschild
Copyright © 2003
by University of Chicago.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 Getting Ready 1
2 The First Weeks 17
3 Classroom Discussions 33
4 The Art and Craft of Lecturing 51
5 Student Writing and Research 65
6 Testing and Evaluation 85
7 Evaluating Your Teaching 101
8 Teaching as a Graduate Student 117
9 Teaching Inclusively in a Multicultural Age 133
10 Using Electronic Resources for Teaching 143
Afterword: Why Do We Teach? 169
Suggestions for Further Reading 171
About the Authors 177
Index 179
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