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New Book from CFT Assistant Director Nancy Chick on Signature Pedagogies

Posted by on Monday, March 12, 2012 in News.

by CFT Director Derek Bruff

Exploring More Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (2012) just hit the stands a couple of weeks ago.  This is big news at the CFT because the lead editor is Nancy Chick, our new Assistant Director.  This book is the follow-up to Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind (2009), a popular book in our Center’s library also co-edited by Nancy.

In the first chapter in the 2009 book, Nancy and her co-editors explain signature pedagogies in this way:

What it means to think, create, demonstrate, know, and evaluate in the biology classroom is different from the meaning of these activities in the creative writing classroom. Because of the differences in what we want students to learn, the pedagogies used to achieve that deep understanding of a discipline vary—or should….  Signature pedagogies invoke the core characteristics of a discipline to help students think like a biologist, a creative writer, or a sociologist, rather than simply expecting them to passively accept the analysis or findings of an expert who already thinks like a biologist, a creative writer, or a sociologist.  (Chick, Haynie, and Gurung 2008, 3-4)

Signature pedagogies can easily be recognized in the professions, such as law and medicine, as students in these fields are apprentices in training for careers as lawyers and doctors, so their traditional pedagogies have the students practicing the moves of lawyers and doctors.  The initial book extended the notion to the academic disciplines, articulating what such signature pedagogies might be for history, literary studies (in a chapter authored by Nancy), creative writing, music, performing and studio arts, geography, human development, psychology, sociology, agriculture, biology, computer science, and physics.

The new book expands the conversation to fields not yet addressed.  The new academic disciplines are philosophy, world languages, communications, art and design, arts entrepreneurship, political science, economics, and chemistry.  The book also adds a section on interdisciplinary fields and programs, specifically Ignatian studies, women’s studies, and disability studies.  Finally, the book includes a section on the professions, bringing the conversation of signature pedagogies back to its roots through chapters on nursing, occupational therapy, social work, and teacher education.

Stop by the CFT library to check out a copy of either book.


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