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Who Teaches the Teachers?

In 2008, the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education surveyed more than 3,000 PhDs to help “assess the career paths of PhDs and the quality of doctoral education in U.S. social science programs.” Many of their findings are very interesting in their own right, but Table 17 is the starting point for this post: only 37% of the respondents reported that there was formal instruction in teaching available in their doctoral programs; fewer than that (34%) reported formal supervision and evaluation of their teaching.

This raises the question: How, where, and when do most anthropologists who go on to teach learn how to teach?

Assuming that the answer is that most anthropologists are self-taught in the ways of the classroom through failure and success, I thought our autodidacts might be interested in some resources.

This 1999 Science article offers some good reflections on the topic. Its suggestions for resources include: Talk about teaching with your colleagues.

For some, with limited departmental or extradepartmental possibilities, this is harder to do and these readers might want to check out the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange to help pool and share ideas. Contribute your assignments, ideas, and syllabus. Investigate new readings and fresh discussion ideas. Contact your fellow teachers.

For others, this chatter might be virtual. The RAI developed a teaching forum. A huge number of our members have blogs (Anthro Brown Bag, Living Anthropologically, and Neuroanthropology come to the fore of my mind because they have content on teaching) for exploring and honing pedagogical ideas.

In the meanwhile, maybe you want to share your story of how, where and when you learned how to teach anthropology.

One Response

  1. Hi Joslyn, thank you for this, it’s a great topic. For four-field introductory courses, I posted a Best Introduction to Anthropology Syllabus – Four Fields 2013 which draws on materials in the AAA teaching exchange, and would of course be grateful for more suggestions!

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