The SAIL Teaching Framework

This is a condensed version of the complete chart, but it's a good place to start. Click for a larger view (and to download).

May 25, 2013

Ass in Chair

Here's the correct way to advise somebody: Love them. Respect them. Know them. Read their stuff, understand where they're coming from. If they're your students, talk to them in class and during your office hours. Ask them how it feels when they can't finish something. Ask them how it feels when they can. Help them get at their obsessions. It's possible that they aren't really trying very hard, and in an undergraduate workshop, this is sometimes the case. Writing really isn't for everybody, and we have a reputation for giving out easy A's. But usually they are trying, sometimes far harder than you have ever had to try to do anything. Sometimes they are crying at their desks at night. Sometimes they would rather die than have to finish their poem or short story. If you are not like that, it isn't because you are better. It's because you are different. Your own experience isn't worthless, but if you think something that works for you might work for a student or friend, put it in terms that acknowledge that you are different. “Here's something that works for me, why don't you try it.” What would you do if you were like them? Suggest that. Offer your student or friend some exercises that might allow them to find the thread themselves. You're not going to find it for them, especially not by implying that they don't work hard enough.

The Ass-In-the-Chair Canard, from J Robert Lennon's blog
Read the whole thing - it's good! He has a lot of cool things to say about teaching.

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