Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taking Risks in the Classroom

For a couple of years, I have been involved in a peer review of teaching program in my department. I am sure we could debate the pros and cons of such a program, but it has allowed me to reflect more on the evolution of my own teaching. While observing a probationary faculty member's class a few days ago, I began to think about how my own teaching has changed over the years. Besides using more technology, I try to take more risks in the classroom these days (insert your favorite risk-taking quote here). Over the years, I have become much more willing to try new teaching methods and implement unique ways to start class.

I was recently prescribed Tamiflu and decided to put the drug information sheet (that came with the prescription) in my biochemistry course file. I only really glanced at this information sheet, but it was clear there was information on this sheet concerning drug resistance. A few days later in my Biochemistry course, we were discussing the H1N1virus, Tamiflu and drug resistance. In the middle of class, I remembered that I had placed the Tamiflu information sheet in my notes, which most likely contained interesting and relevant information. Several years ago, I would have looked at that information sheet after class and included some of the information in the next class period. However, that day I walked over to my notes and pulled out that relatively unfamiliar information sheet and used it during class. In some ways, I felt like I was about to walk a tightrope when I pulled that sheet from my notes. It was a bit of a risk because I really did not know what drug resistance information was included on the sheet and I might not be able to effectively incorporate this information into the class discussion.

I would like to hear your thoughts on taking risks in the classroom or in online courses. Please click COMMENT below to give us your thoughts.