Alternatives to Generic Teaching: A Plenary North of the Border
On February 25, CFT Assistant Director Nancy Chick presented a plenary session, “Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Engaging Your Students and Your Discipline,” at the 2012 Spring Conference of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia. The FPSE is organization of unionized faculty in British Columbia’s institutions of higher education. This year’s conference, held in Vancouver, BC, was focused on the increasing complexity and diversity of institutions and students, calling for more intentional and thoughtful approaches to students’ learning experiences, according to FPSE President Cindy Oliver.
In Nancy’s plenary, she drew on examples from the audience to discuss the often generic, disengaged, and forgettable classroom experiences faculty recall from when they were students and now as they are the teachers. As a way of changing this pattern, she then introduced the notion of “signature pedagogies” (Shulman, 2005), or ways of teaching that “disclose important information about the personality of a disciplinary field—its values, knowledge, and manner of thinking—almost, perhaps, its total world view” (Calder, 2006). She also shared examples of both approaches to teaching—the generic and the signature—from two books she’s co-edited, Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (2009) and Exploring More Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (2012).
If you’re interested in learning more about signature pedagogies, refer to these resources:
- Shulman, Lee S. (2005) “Signature Pedagogies in the Professions.” Daedalus, 134, 52-59. After presenting the idea first in a plenary session at the 2005 conference of the International Society of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), Shulman published his work in Daedalus.
- Calder, Lendol. (2008) “Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the History Survey.” Journal of American History. Calder was the first to bring Shulman’s notion of signature pedagogies to the academic disciplines.
- Gurung, Regan A.R., Nancy L. Chick, and Aeron Haynie. (2009) Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind. Sterling, VA: Stylus. This book builds on Shulman and Calder by articulating signature pedagogies in a variety of academic disciplines. (Available at the CFT library. Read preview here.)
- Chick, Nancy L., Aeron Haynie, and Regan A.R. Gurung. (2012) Exploring More Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind. Sterling, VA: Stylus. This second book extends the exploration of signature pedagogies to more academic disciplines, some interdisciplinary programs, and some of the professions. (Available at the CFT library.)
You can also schedule an individual consultation or department-wide workshop with Nancy to discuss the concept of signature pedagogies and to develop strategies to apply in your classrooms.
Image: one of Nancy’s slides from her plenary